A Short Sweet Romance for My Readers For Valentine’s Day

woman walking dog in winter

Valentine’s Day with a Twist

by Lyn Cote

Sandy walked down the windblown road, letting her dog big mutt Mulligan pull her along. The blustery February wind matched her mood. This would be her second Valentine’s Day since she’d lost Jim. After years of marriage, they had almost stopped celebrating Valentine’s Day except for Jim’s cheery Valentine’s Day Good Morning! which had always included a mention of how much he loved her.

She blinked back tears, not wanting to give in to self-pity and get only chapped cheeks in return.

But then Mulligan began tugging at the leash yanking her off the road into the wooded area. She strained to prevent him but he was stronger and pulled her along. Then she spotted it, a jogging shoe protruding from behind a tree trunk. “Oh, my!” Then she was hurrying right beside Mulligan.

A man with silver hair lay on the jogging path, unconscious. Sandy whipped out her phone as Mulligan whined and sniffed around the man. A quick few words to 911 and help was on its way.

Mulligan was licking the man’s face.

A moan sounded. “What happened?” a gruff voice asked.

“You must have fallen,” Sandy said, moving to hover over him. “I’ve called 911–”

“You didn’t have to do that–”

“I certainly did,” Sandy snapped. “You were unconscious. You might have a concussion. Or have suffered a heart attack. How did I know?”

The man’s eyes widened and then his expression lifted, almost into a grin. “Well…you’re right of course.”  He looked around. “I think I tripped.”

Sandy motioned toward a protruding tree root from an ancient oak tree by the path.

“That would do it all right. My ankle.” He gestured toward it. “I might have twisted it. And by the way I’m Hal.” He offered his hand

She shook his cold hand and introduced herself only as Sandy. The sound of a siren sounded in the distance.

“I feel like a fool,” he said, lifting himself to rest on his elbows.

“Men,” Sandy said good naturedly as she stepped away so she could be seen from the road. “Even a super hero can trip.”

The man grinned.  “And how many superheroes have you come to help?”

Sandy chuckled at this.

The EMT’s hurried up and swarmed around them. They determined that Hal had an injured ankle and needed an X-Ray to rule out a break and a doctor should make a call about a concussion. Soon he was being slid into the back of the ambulance.

“Wait!” Hal called out. “What’s your last name? I want to be able to thank you properly!”

“There’s no need,” Sandy called back from the curb.

“It’s too cold and I might have a broken ankle, I can’t hang around and wait for you to walk your dog by here again.”

Sandy drew in breath at the way Hal was looking at her. “My last name’s Warner. You’ll find me under my late husband’s name Jim.”

“Got it ! Jim Warner!”

The door was shut and the ambulance took off with the whine of its siren. Mulligan whoofed after it. Sandy couldn’t move, the thrill of having a man ask for her full name freezing her in place. Mulligan dragged her into starting their walk again.

Had Hal just been being polite? Only time would tell. But she couldn’t stop herself from grinning.


QUESTION: Do you think that romance is only for the twenty-somethings? Yes or No?–Lyn

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Author Mary Alford Shares Spaghetti and Rocky Mt. Pursuit

Mary Alford

My guest today is author Mary Alford and she’s going to share a recipe and something about her latest Love Inspired Suspense, Rocky Mt. Pursuit. AND MARY IS OFFERING ONE PRINT COPY (US ONLY). WATCH FOR QUESTION BELOW: Here’s Mary:

Who doesn’t love Spaghetti and Meatballs?

It’s almost like a comfort food especially when it’s cold out or when you have to feed a big hungry crowd.  Served with some garlic bread, you’ve got yourself a meal.

One of my favorite recipes sites is Allrecipes.com I found this recipe there and it quickly became one of my most used recipes.

In my February Love Inspired Suspense release, Rocky Mountain Pursuit, 

my main characters Jase and Reyna share a romantic meal of spaghetti while hiding out from some very bad guys. Jase and Reyna didn’t have much time to prepare their meal. They used premade sauce, but I guess if you were on the run, it would taste wonderful. I hope you’re not on the run and can take the time to try out this recipe and enjoy it. It’s well worth the prep.

Italian Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs



• 1 pound lean ground beef

• 1 cup fresh bread crumbs

• 1 tablespoon dried parsley

• 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

• 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

• 1 egg, beaten


• 3/4 cup chopped onion

• 5 cloves garlic, minced

• 1/4 cup olive oil

• 2 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes

• 2 teaspoons salt

• 1 teaspoon white sugar

• 1 bay leaf

• 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

• 3/4 teaspoon dried basil

• 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


1. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, garlic powder and beaten egg. Mix well and form into 12 balls. Store, covered, in refrigerator until needed.

2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is translucent. Stir in tomatoes, salt, sugar and bay leaf. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 90 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, basil, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and meatballs and simmer 30 minutes more. Serve.–Mary

Rocky Mountain Pursuit

To purchase, click here. Rocky Mountain Pursuit (Love Inspired Suspense)



Everyone believes agent Jase Bradford is dead—everyone but Reyna Peterson. Only he can protect her now that someone wants the information her CIA husband died to secure. As the one member of their spy team not killed, Jase must remain in the shadows. Yet when Reyna leads the enemy right to his mountain refuge and blows his cover, Jase risks his life for hers. As his best friend’s beautiful widow scales the walls around his heart, whether out of loyalty or love, he makes it his duty to secure her safety. But when their pursuers trap them in the snowy Colorado mountains, will it become his final mission?

For More Online

Website: www.maryalford.net

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/mary.alford.1272   

Twitter :  https://twitter.com/maryalford13

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7235798.Mary_Alford

Mary has also started a group on Goodreads for those who love Love Inspired Suspense. If you’re interested, here’s that link too.

Love Inspired Suspense Group

Thans so much, Mary, for sharing this recipe. I recall watching an old James Cagney movie where Americans in the early 20th century were trying to figure out how to eat this new culinary delight. :-) And your book sounds very compelling. I think writing a hideout book focusing on two characters alone would be really challenging. Good for you! Thanks for being my guest.



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HONOR Ebook-Last Day or 99 Cent Sale–Saturday Feb 6


HONOR Is on sale for 99 cents through Saturday Feb 6. If you’ve been waiting for the final book of my Quaker Bries series before you start reading the series, your wait is nearly over. FAITH will come out April 2nd.

If you look to your left, you can see the covers rotating under MY LATEST SERIES. To purchase from Amazon, just click the cover. To purchase from Barnes & Noble, see the note and link under the covers.

Honor’s BLURB

When unexpected circumstances leave Honor Penworthy destitute after the death of her grandfather, she is forced to leave her Maryland plantation—and the slaves she hoped to free—and seek refuge with a distant relative. With no marketable skills, her survival hinges on a marriage arranged through the Quaker community to local glass artisan Samuel Cathwell. Samuel is drawn to Honor, but he has been unwilling to open his heart to anyone since scarlet fever took his hearing as a child.

A move west brings the promise of a fresh start, but nothing in Honor’s genteel upbringing has prepared her for the rigors of frontier life with Samuel. Nevertheless, her tenacity and passion sweep her into important winds of change, and she becomes increasingly—though secretly—involved in the Underground Railroad. Samuel suspects Honor is hiding something, but will uncovering the truth confirm his worst fears or truly bring them together as man and wife?

Set against the backdrop of dramatic and pivotal moments in American history, the Quaker Brides series chronicles the lives of three brave heroines, fighting to uphold their principles of freedom while navigating the terrain of faith, family, and the heart.

HONOR  has garnered 66 reviews and a 4.7 rating out of 5. It also finaled in last year’s National Readr’s Choice Awards.

And remember you can always give an ebook as a gift. Just look for that on the book page where you wish to purchase it.

Monday I’m hosting a Love Inspired Suspense author. Drop by!–Lyn

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Lyn Reviews Becky Wade’s A Love Like Ours

Here’s another great sweet romance!


A Love Like Ours (Porter Family, #3)A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another Texas Porter Family story and again Becky Wade does not disappoint.

This is a reunion story. Childhood friends come back together after a decade apart. Now the guy Ja

ke is a war hero, wounded in body and spirit. The heroine Lyndie now exercises horses and needs a job at Jake’s brother’s thoroughbred ranch. Jake doesn’t want to hire her. Seeing her makes him feel things he doesn’t want to feel.

But in the end, she begins working at the horse farm and soon he finds that she wants to not only to exercise horses but be a jockey.

For a man who suffers from PTSD and who feels survivor’s guilt watching Lyndie ride horses in competitive races is torture.

An interesting secondary character is Lyndie’s younger severely disabled sister whose presence lifts the story another notch.

I look forward to reading more Porter Family stories.

View all my reviews

Do you enjoy reading series of novels about the members of a family?–Lyn 

PS-Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. See the signup in the upper right!

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What’s wrong with…



Yes, you read that right. What’s wrong with bar soap?

This year occasionally I’m going to post something that irritates me about what’s going on around me.

And this is the first post of that type.

So I ask you–what’s wrong with bar soap?

As a child and young woman, I used bar soap and then about a decade or more ago, suddenly body wash appeared.

Body wash is liquid soap. Now what’s my beef with liquid soap?

My beef is that when the liquid soap is done, I’m left with a plastic bottle.

When I’m done with a bar of soap, I’m left with nothing, nothing to throw away or recycle. It’s just gone!

This goes also for those plastic dispensers with anti-bacterial liquid soap by each sink. Again I’m left with a plastic bottle and pump to dispose of.


That’s my beef. Garbage, especially non-degradable garbage is a problem, a big one.

So why add to it?

Go buy a bar of soap!

Whatever brand you choose. And if you want to use liquid soap at the sink, go buy a ceramic reusable dispenser. You can find them really cheap at Walmart or Goodwill.

Just avoid the plastic bottle that goes into the garbage.

Now am I right or am I crazy?–Lyn

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Debut Author Evangeline Denmark & Using One’s Power

Evangeline Denmark

My guest today is debut author Evangeline Denmark. She has written an intriguing fantasy. Here’s Evangeline about her heroine Grey.

Grey Haward, the heroine of my young adult steampunk fantasy CURIO, stumbles into surprising physical strength one night when her best friend is taken prisoner. Caught off guard by her own fury and the power coursing through her veins, Grey defies the evil Chemist Council that rules her town and sets in motion events that will change not one world but two.

On the run from the council, Grey finds refuge in a strange land inside an enchanted curio cabinet. Although she lands in a posh estate under the care of beautiful and attentive porcelain people, she soon learns Curio City is far more dangerous than it first appears. As she struggles to navigate a brewing revolution and escape the reach of an obsessed ruler, Grey desperately needs to access the mysterious strength that rose when she stood up for her friend, but how can she count on something she can’t begin to explain?

In crafting Grey I wanted to avoid the stereotypical strong female character who always responds with pluck or a kick-butt attitude. Sure I wanted Grey to have those characteristics, but we humans don’t always respond the same way and neither should a fictional character. Grey doesn’t know what she’s capable of. She doesn’t know who she is or what her role is in the circumstances thrust upon her. She is vulnerable at times and protective at times. She has to trust others more than she’d like and she has to learn to trust herself.

Perhaps the hardest lesson Grey must learn is that her personal well of strength is connected to her sense of justice. Responding to the mistreatment of others with outrage and determination comes naturally to her, but standing up for herself is a bit more complicated.

There’s a certain scene in Curio that was extremely hard to write. I wanted to skip the terrifying vulnerability and get to the butt-kicking. I wanted Grey OUT of that situation, but I felt a responsibility to show the struggle, to acknowledge the pain and not gloss over it. Because brokenness and strength often arrive simultaneously, whether we know it or not. It’s not a matter of choosing one or the other, but acknowledging both as part of who we are.”–Evangeline


To purchase, click here. Curio (Blink)

Blurb Curio is the story of Grey Haward’s struggles to keep her friends and family safe from their totalitarian government while she’s at home, and from afar. After her friend Whit is taken by a patrol for breaking curfew, Grey is willing to give him her ration of the potion that allows citizens to digest their food, believing she is like her grandfather and father, who don’t need the potion. After being accused of ration dealing, Grey is on the run and becomes trapped in Curio City with the upper-class “Porcies” and ragged, lower-class clockwork people. She is befriended by another trapped human, Blaise, and they must escape together, or the porcelain Lord Blueboy will try to take her power of being unbreakable by force. Grey needs to return to her own world before her friends and family lose their lives.

For more online:





Evangeline, thanks so much for telling us about your heroine Grey. I BOLDED THE PARAGRAPH ABOUT BROKENESS AND STRENGTH. EXCELLENT!

I haven’t read steampunk but I enjoy fantasy very much. I wish you the best in your new series!

QUESTION: Do you know what a steampunk novel is?–Lyn

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Lyn Reviews Becky Wade’s Undeniably Yours

Here’a another romance by Becky Wade~~~~

Undeniably Yours (Porter Family #1)Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I met Bo and Meg in Becky Wade’s Meant to Be Mine and so I knew I needed to find out how the Cowboy and the Heiress came to fall in love.

I truly enjoyed this story and it reminded me of the truth that TOO much $$$$ is as BAD as TOO little. Meg’s family is almost feudal with it’s tradition of primogeniture–that is the eldest takes control of the family company. And that mean art major Meg at 25 is supposed to run a huge TX oil company.

Meg struggles to live up to her family obligations that make her break out into a cold sweat. Then she finds that Bo Porter, the cowboy she tries to fire upon their first meeting, is the only one who calms her.

A tender love story with a dash of chilling danger at the climax.

If you love handsome cowboys, little children and a sweet romance, I highly recommend you pick up a copy.

View all my reviews

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Winter Sale on Northern Intrigue Series Ebooks

To purchase, just click the covers.

If you haven’t read the first book in my Northern Intrigue series, today’s the day to buy it. The ebook is on sale for 99 cents today through Friday, the 8th.

I’ve also lowered the price on the next two books in the series for the same days.

Book 2 Autumn’s Shadow

Book 3 Summer’s End

Here’s the info on Winter’s Secret

Smashed heirlooms, ripped upholstery and rifled drawers–who is breaking into homes–

Romance and mystery in a small Wisconsin town during a record-breaking snowy winter.

“Winter’s Secret is a captivating story, blanketed in biblical truths….” CBA Markeplace

These are the kind of stories one can curl up by the fire OR sit out on the porch to read in winter. :-) Lyn


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Author Regina Scott and her Maddie O’Rourke, Mercer Girl


My guest today is author Regina Scott and she has a heroine you’ll probably want to read more about. Here’s Regina:

one of the strongest ladies I’ve ever written

Maddie O’Rourke, the heroine for my January release, Instant Frontier Family, is one of the strongest ladies I’ve ever written in 30 odd books. She has to be. You see, although Maddie is a fictional character, she is one of Mercer’s Belles, real-life women who overcame great odds to settle the Northwest.

oo many widows and orphans

Right after the Civil War, the East Coast had too many widows and orphans, while the West Coast miners, loggers, and farmers were seriously lacking in ladies. An enterprising young man named Asa Mercer, who was the first president of the University of Washington, had a daring idea—why not bring those ladies to Seattle? In two trips, he escorted nearly 80 women to what was then Washington Territory.

Mercer had accepted money

Many of them had no intention of marrying. They’d left sorrow and economic hardships behind, called by the lure of jobs and independence on the far frontier. In fact, none were aware until well into their trip that Mercer had accepted money from certain men to secure them brides. The ladies refused the men who came to claim them, determined to forge their own paths. In the end, though, all but one eventually chose husbands. Their children went on to be statesmen, artists, and teachers, helping to make the new territory a state.

Maddie O’Rourke is a typical Mercer Girl.

She and her father escaped the Potato Famine in Ireland to settle in New York, where Mr. O’Rourke married again. Though Maddie is 16 years older than her two half-siblings, she loves them dearly. When her father and stepmother are killed in a tenement fire, Maddie steps in to raise Ciara and Aiden, but it quickly becomes apparent that she hasn’t the means to care for them. So when she hears about Asa Mercer’s promises that anyone can make a fortune in Seattle, she leaves the children with a friend and ventures into the unknown. Maddie’s cooking skills allow her to open one of the first bakeries in Seattle and begin to make a life for herself. Finally, with money saved for their passage and a lady to escort them, Maddie sends for Ciara and Aiden. And then the trouble begins.”–Regina

Instant Frontier Family

To purchase, click here. Instant Frontier Family (Frontier Bachelors)


Maddie O’Rourke’s orphaned half brother and half sister have arrived safely in Seattle, with a man they hope she’ll wed! Though Michael Haggerty’s not the escort she planned for, Maddie allows him to work off his passage by assisting in her bakery…and helping care for her siblings. But she’ll never risk her newfound independence by marrying the strapping Irishman, or anyone else.

In New York, Michael ran afoul of a notorious gang. Traveling west was a necessity, not a choice. The longshoreman grew fond of his young charges, and now he’s quickly becoming partial to their beautiful sister, too. So when danger follows him, threatening Maddie and the children, he’ll do anything to protect them, and the future he hopes to build.

Thanks so much, Regina. I love your heroine and the twist of the young man coming out with the children.

 QUESTION: Do you think you would have taken the chance of being a mail order bride?

Just a note about 2016 here on my Strong Women, Brave Stories blog: I will be having fewer guests and fewer posts. I want more time to devote to my writing. I have several different projects that I’m juggling. But I’ll also still do an occasional book review and I’m going to start a post now and then with “Lyn Vents” where I tell you exactly what I think about something that’s been bugging me. Feel free on those days to let me know EXACTLY WHAT YOU THINK TOO!–Lyn

For More Online about Regina and her books:

Website: http://www.reginascott.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorreginascott

To receive Alert to be Notified When the Next Book Is Out, click: http://eepurl.com/baqwVT

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Lyn’s Last Minute Holiday Recipe-Almond Truffles!

hammered aluminum pan

First, I love to cook with vintage hammered aluminum pans. They are heavy, conduct even heat and nothing ever scorches in them. I used my smallest one for this recipe!

I discovered this Nestle’s recipe card on my walk through the baking aisle this December. I made it and it’s A WINNER!



1/2 c evaporated milk

1/4 c white sugar

1 pkg MILK CHOCOLATE chips (11.5 oz)

1 tsp vanilla (OR 1/4 tsp almond extract-I used vanilla)

1 cup toasted chopped almonds (To toast: spread one layer of chopped almonds on a baking sheet at 350 F. for 12 minutes or till lightly golden.)

In A SMALL HEAVY WEIGHT saucepan (like my vintage hammered aluminum), mix the milk and sugar and then bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.

Take off heat and stir in chocolate chips till melted and vanilla. Refrigerate for an hour. Then using a melon-baller, form into balls and roll in almonds.

almond truffles

DELICIOUS and only one pan dirtied! My kind of recipe!–Lyn

Here’s a photo my dh snapped a few days before Christmas. That’s me in my aqua robe and our 2 cats. You can see our tree and the outdoor porch railing lights through the sliding glass doors.

Christmas catnap


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