Posts Tagged ‘romance novel’

Cover Reveal Husband Wanted by Charlotte Hughes

Monday, January 4th, 2016
AMZ CHARLOTTE HUGHES 3

Husband Wanted, a romance

Here is the great cover by Kim Van Meter. Husband Wanted which will be released on Feb 24th, 2016. It is available now for preorder, if you want to reserve your copy click here.

Miss Van Meter has been a great cover artists and has worked with me on several of my recent eBooks, and the print books that accompany them. She did the cover for Miss Goody Two Shoes, Just Married Again, and now Husband Wanted.  We have also asked Kim to do a redo cover for Tall, Dark, and Bad.

Husband Wanted is about Frannie Brisbane, and her efforts to connect with a daughter she gave up 13 years ago, when she was born.  Frannie had painted a very different picture of her life in the letters they’d exchanged, and with the help of her friends she had obtained a mansion and servants she could use. But could she find a husband on the spur of the moment?

The book is a contemporary romance and while it has humor and a HEA, it is not as much of a comedy as See Bride Run! or Just Married Again.  It is however a fun sweet read that I hope you will enjoy. Next up, Island Rogue in May.

 

Excerpt from Miss Goody Two-Shoes

Friday, August 21st, 2015

KOBO CHARLOTTE HUGHESKane pulled his duffel bag from the bike and approached the store, trying to decide if it looked as Melanie Abercrombie had described it. The building had to be at least a hundred years old, the wood faded and warped in places from the weather. A vin­tage soda-pop machine shared space with two long benches on the front porch, where a faded green awn­ing offered relief from the elements. Double screen doors marked the entrance, both of which sagged and looked as though they’d come completely unhinged in the next strong wind. Beside one door a small sign listed the hours of operation. A sign on the other side of the doors listed the rules. No loitering, profanity, or alcoholic beverages allowed. Kane didn’t have to be psychic to know who’d put up the sign. Even in her letters, Miss Melanie Abercrombie had come across as a real southern lady.

He paused before the door, suddenly nervous at the thought of meeting the woman who’d written to him faithfully the past year. How would she react when she saw him for the first time? His release had come about so quickly, he hadn’t had a chance to notify her of his whim to visit.

# # #

 

Melanie Abercrombie was in a sour mood, brought on by hunger pangs, her younger sister’s desperate, incessant phone calls, and a feeling of being over­whelmed. She peered through clunky square-framed glass at the mess before her.

Abercrombie Grocery was as disorganized and cluttered as a child’s playroom, proof that her father preferred visiting with his customers and listening to gospel music to sweeping and restocking shelves. Mel ran a finger across the lid of a jar of pickled beets where a layer of dust and grime had long since settled and made it impossible to read the price.

She knew she was partially responsible for the mess. Her flower shop had been in an uproar for a solid month, what with Easter, Secretaries’ Day, and proms following one right after the other. It was so bad her assistant, Eunice Jenkins, claimed she was getting varicose veins from standing on her feet so long, and prickly heat rash from sweating and handling pompoms. Mel simply hadn’t had time to come by her father’s store and clean the way she usually did. It was no wonder folks were driving into town to shop at the new Thrifty Sack.

Nevertheless, Mel had had no idea how bad busi­ness had been until she looked through her father’s financial records. Only then did she realize they would have to take desperate measures. The store must be cleaned up once and for all. They’d have to pull up all that scarred linoleum and tear down the warped shelves. They’d have to patch the roof over the meat cooler and repair the faucet on the bathroom sink, and have someone look at the old heating and air conditioning unit that never quite kept the place warm enough in winter or cool enough in the summer.

Mel sighed heavily. It was going to take so much time and money, neither of which she had very much of these days.

That brought her to the next problem: Where the heck was the carpenter she’d hired to do the work? She groaned inwardly as she wondered about him. She’d hired the man sight unseen from a Craig’s List ad stating he was unemployed and would work cheap as a handyman. She’d later learned, through the grapevine at church, that the fellow was unemployed due to a tendency to drink and forget about work altogether.

Mel was interrupted from her thoughts when one of the screen doors was thrown open and a man stepped through.

“Melanie Abercrombie?” he asked, trying to make himself heard above a modern rendition of the gospel song “Oh Happy Day” coming from a radio at the back of the store.

At first all Mel could do was stare at him.

She felt her jaw drop clear to her collar as she regarded the man before her. His head and face were covered with snarled blue-black hair. His brown eyes were so dark they appeared black. His expression was hard, flat, and emotionless. It was the sort of face one expected to find on Wanted posters, the sort of face that prompted decent folks to lock their doors at night before they went to bed.

So this was her carpenter. No wonder he couldn’t keep a job.

“Well, it’s about time you got here,” she said, her voice as crisp as fried salt pork. She wasn’t going to allow herself to be put off by that beard. She took in his clothes, the blue sweat-stained work shirt, and shamefully tight jeans. He looked tough, lean, and sinewy, and probably could do the work if he stayed sober. “I’ve been waiting for you all day.”

“You have?” Kane was clearly surprised. He couldn’t imagine how she’d learned he was get­ting out.

“Yes,” she replied, noting he didn’t look the least bit remorseful for being so late. Didn’t he want the job, for heaven’s sake? “I suppose an apology is out of the question,” she said.

He went blank. “You can apologize if you want, but I certainly don’t expect it.”

Her irritation flared. “I wasn’t talking about me apologizing to you” she said tightly.

His bafflement quickly turned to annoyance. She had obviously called the prison, although he couldn’t imagine why. She had never once tried to contact him by phone. “Why should I apologize?” he asked. “I came as quickly as I could. Hell, I don’t even have to be here.”

“Oh, is that right?” she quipped, meeting his gaze. She paused. “You think I’m desperate, don’t you?”

He was growing more confused. “Come again?”

“That’s it, isn’t it?” She fidgeted with the buttons on her blouse. “You think I need you so badly that I’ll put up with this sort of behavior.”

Kane was truly at a loss as he studied the woman before him and wondered where in the hell the con­versation was going. “I don’t think you’re desperate,” he said, at the same time wondering if she expected him to court her in return for all those letters. She was clearly not his type. Her skirt and blouse were too prim and proper; her hairstyle—slicked back into a bun—too severe. Her glasses were downright ugly and made her face appear misshapen. “I don’t want to appear rude, Miss Abercrombie, but I’m not looking to get romantically involved with anyone right now. I just want a fresh start.”

“What?” Mel’s head spun. What in blazes was he talking about? Did he think she was making a pass at him? Was he insane? She opened her mouth to speak, but he cut her off.

“Look, I don’t want us to get off to a bad begin­ning. I’m not sure I would have made it this past year without your letters.” It wasn’t easy for him to be so honest, but she had done much for his morale these twelve months; he owed her.

Mel was at a loss. He wasn’t making sense. “Let­ters? What letters? Who are you?”

“Kane Stoddard.”

She froze as realization swept through her with the force of a tidal wave. “Kane Stoddard? From Leavenworth Penitentiary?” He nodded, and she thought she detected a small smile, but it was hard to tell with the beard.

But how can that be, she asked herself. The Kane Stoddard she knew was a convicted killer, serving life without parole. How had he gotten out? The answer came to her with lightning-quick clarity. She knew of only one way a prisoner could get out that fast.

Kane watched the color drain from her face. He had expected her to be surprised, but she looked as if she’d just received the scare of her life. “Are you okay?” he asked.

She knew she ought to do something, but what? Dial 911? Race outside and flag down the first motor­ist who came along? She tried to move, but her feet felt as though they’d been set in cement.

An escaped convict in Hardeeville? Was it poss­ible?

Kane watched, transfixed, as Melanie Abercrom­bie’s eyes glazed over, and then rolled back in her head like dice in a card game. She swayed, and he reached for her. He wasn’t fast enough. She collapsed and fell against a box of drain cleaner with the grace and finesse of a hundred-pound gunny sack of Vidalia onion

Welcome to Temptation Released

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

Welcome To Temptation Front SmallJust released, a romance eBook exclusive to Amazon.  (Print books are available everywhere). Charlotte’s latest indie published romance is Welcome to Temptation. Buy now by clicking here.

 

Reckless, bad boy Cajun . . .


With a hurricane closing in on Temptation, Louisiana, Michelle Thurston fails to convince her stubborn grandmother to leave her home on the bayou. Sheriff Gator Landry arrives by boat, hell-bent on forcing the elderly recluse to evacuate. He is stunned to find Michelle, who was just 16 years old when he courted her one steamy summer.
Now, at 32, Michelle comes face-to-face with the man whose kisses tempted her to lose control, only this time there is no place to run. Although Gator is not about to leave the two women defenseless, Michelle can’t help but wonder if he is more dangerous to her than anything the storm can do.

Shop for it now

Charlotte Hughes is planning a brief blog tour on the 20th in support of Welcome to Temptation. Many of you probably remember that Charlotte was one of the first romance authors to do a virtual book tour, and she has not done any tours in a while. Watch this blog for more details about the Welcome to Temptation tour which will be at about 25 sites and it will be held on May 20th.

Giving Away a $50 Giftcard to One of My Readers

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015
 Tall Dark and Bad Reader Contest
I will be selecting one entrant in my Tall, Dark, and Bad reader contest to receive a gift certificate for Amazon.com. All you need to do is answer two  questions from the book, and if you email me the correct answers at readcharlottehughes@gmail.com, then you will be entered in the contest, which ends March 31st. If you have already read the book the questions should be easy to answer, or at least look up, and if you do not yet have it (but  intended to get it anyway), the Kindle version is on sale at Amazon for only 99 cents March 23rd through March 28th.  Click here to buy it. After that it goes back to the regular price.Here are the two contest questions:1. Early in chapter 9, what is Cooper wearing when Summer opens the door?
2. In chapter 11 we learn that Cooper named his “farm” after someone. Who is Cooper’s rural property named after?

In order to be eligible to participate in the contest, you have to be at least 18, not a relative or employee, and reside in a jurisdiction which permits such a contest. No puchase necessary, void where prohibited.

Contempoary Romance

New Romance by Charlotte Hughes

An Excerpt from New Romantic Comedy Release See Bride Run!

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

 

Romance Novel Book Cover

 

From See Bride Run!

by Charlotte Hughes                Buy

 

 

 

The wedding had the makings of a fairytale. The groom, Eldon Wentworth, was charismatic, movie-star handsome, and came from old money. Eldon had studied abroad, traveled the world, and was considered one of Atlanta’s most eligible bachelors.

Annie Hartford was lovely with her fresh-scrubbed look, large, Kelly-green eyes, and blond hair that tumbled past her shoulders. Her gown—an haute couture Oleg Cassini—was a stunner: a strapless ball gown with a jeweled bodice that shimmered when she moved. From the waist, creamy satin spilled down multi-layered crinoline, creating a voluminous skirt.

A frothy veil was fixed in place by a small tiara with pink diamonds. It had shamed even the larger tiaras with their ornate multi-karat white diamonds, all pulled from a safe in Tiffany’s and placed on a velvet tray for her perusal. Most people would not suspect how unique—not to mention costly—the pink stones were, but Annie had been raised in an environment where women recognized a precious stone at fifty paces, and most husbands purchased at least one ridiculously extravagant car.

That was Annie’s world. At twenty-nine years old, Annie Hartford was sole heir to a billion dollar empire.

Now, on her wedding day, Annie paced about in one of the church’s parlors—it was difficult to sit with all the crinolines—her thoughts swirling like confetti riding a wind gust.

Sitting on a velvet settee, the Hartford’s long time employee, Vera Holmes, fretted. At sixty-something, she was still attractive. She had decided on her sixtieth birthday to stop coloring her hair, and the soft dove gray color only emphasized her nice skin. She was usually calm, but not today. She had picked off most of the light pink polish on her nails.

The wedding planner, Susan, had gushed over the bridal gown and tiara before quickly going over what they’d practiced at the rehearsal. “My assistant will tap on your door once the last of the attendants get near the altar, and you’ll join your father in the narthex. Don’t worry; my assistant will see that your gown and veil are arranged perfectly before you make your way down the aisle. Also, do not let the number of guests intimidate you,” she added, “and remember to smile.” She hurried from the room.

Are you okay?” Vera asked.

“I’m perfectly fine,” Annie said. She knew the guest list of six hundred was her father’s way of showing off, as were the six hundred lobsters flown in from Portland, Maine during the night; and the small orchestra presently playing Mozart’s Eine Klein Nachmusik, to early arrivals. Winston Hartford did not want an old lady with blue-tinted hair playing the organ at his daughter’s wedding.

Annie glanced at the wall clock beside the door.

Forty-five minutes until show time . . .

Annie had not been looking for a husband when she ran into Eldon Wentworth at Hartford Iron and Steel, a 300,000 square foot facility of warehouse and processing center. The facility was massive by Atlanta’s standards and had grown from the small company her great-great grandfather founded in 1930. She and her father were meeting for lunch to discuss an upcoming conference.

Eldon had been at the plant looking at ornamental iron for a property he had purchased. When he spotted Annie, he hurried over and introduced himself. “I attended Duke University with your brother,” he’d said. “I spoke to you briefly at the funeral, but that was what . . . almost ten years ago? Hard to believe.”

Annie looked him over. Dark blond hair, perfect teeth, medium build. Snazzy dresser; Ralph Lauren cashmere sweater, designer jeans, and Armani loafers. He was good looking enough that, under normal circumstances she might have noticed and remembered him; yet unlikely at her brother’s funeral. She shook her head. “I’m sorry.”

“I completely understand,” he’d replied. “I just wanted you to know that I was proud to call Bradley a close friend.”

“Thank you,” Annie said.

Eldon had gone on to share funny tales of her brother’s antics. Annie felt Bradley was nearby, laughing right along with them. “I was the quiet, well-behaved twin,” she said, “and Bradley was the mischief-maker. Hard to believe we shared the same real estate for nine months.” Eldon looked surprised. “Did you not realize Bradley had a twin sister?” Annie asked.

He was prevented from answering when they heard a noise in the doorway. Winston Hartford stood there, looking from one to the other. Annie froze. Despite the passing years, Bradley was seldom discussed in her father’s presence. His death in an auto accident still held the man in a grip. Grief had changed the landscape of his face, scoring deep lines across his forehead and each side of his mouth. His heart seemed as brittle as the leaves on the azalea bushes after a freezing rain.

Annie had watched in disbelief as her father shook Eldon’s hand and invited him to lunch, where they shared stories of Bradley’s shenanigans. Annie could not help but wonder if Eldon was just a likeable sort or if her father was finally chipping away the wall that contained his anger.

Thirty-five minutes . . .

Annie and Eldon dated only three months before becoming engaged, at which time Winston Hartford began grooming Eldon for a managerial role at the plant. Annie had to bite her tongue. That her father did not think a woman capable of running Hartford Iron and Steel was a constant irritant.

With the wedding only weeks away, Annie ran into Bradley’s best friend from high school and college, nicknamed Jimbo. He had taken Bradley’s death especially hard.

“I heard you were engaged,” he’d said. “Who is the lucky guy?”

“Eldon Wentworth,” she’d said. “An old friend of Bradley’s. You should hear some of the funny stories he tells.” She noticed Jimbo’s frown. “What’s wrong?”

“Your fiancé is a liar, Annie. Bradley and Eldon were not friends,” he’d said. “To my knowledge, they never even spoke.”

Annie was stunned.

“Eldon wasn’t at Duke very long. He was expelled during the second semester for cheating on an exam.”

“Why would he lie?” she asked.

“It’s no secret that you are the sole heir to a mega fortune. You need to dump the guy as quickly as you can and be done with him.”

Thirty minutes . . .

Annie had called Eldon and immediately broke off the engagement. “You’re a pathological liar. You and Bradley were never friends. You did not even know he had a twin when we met, which I find odd since he and I spoke by phone almost every day. I also know that you were kicked out of Duke for cheating on an exam.”

“You’re overreacting,” Eldon had said. “Your dad loved hearing the stories and so did you. I gave you what you wanted.”

Twenty-five minutes . . .

When Annie arrived home several hours later, she was summoned to her father’s study. It reminded her of the time he had called Bradley and her in to announce their mother was leaving, and they would live with him. They’d been four years old at the time and did not quite grasp it until later.

“What do you think you’re doing breaking off your engagement?” he demanded.

“Eldon lied,” she said. “He never even met Bradley.” She filled him in.

“I demand that you stop repeating rumors about Eldon. He comes from one of the oldest, most well-respected families in Atlanta?”

“Pass the business to me, Father,” she’d said. “I know more about running Hartford Iron and Steel than most of your managers. I worked in the plant for five summers while growing up. I have ideas, good ones.”

“Your place is by your husband’s side, running the family estate, looking after the Hartford Foundation, and—”

Annie interrupted. “Giving dinner parties for your customers, sending hams to the employees at Christmas for ten years,” she added. “I deserve a chance to prove myself within the company.” She swallowed. “Or I quit.”

He looked shocked. “Do not speak to me that way.”

“I’m not going to marry a liar and a cheat just to make you happy,” she had said emphatically. “I refuse to be bullied by you any longer.”

Her father had slammed both fists on his desk. “You will marry Eldon,” he’d shouted. “You will walk down the aisle wearing the dress and tiara that cost me a fortune. You will not embarrass me in front of six hundred people, not to mention the media. Do you know how I know?”

Annie remained silent.

“I just got off the phone with my banker. I have frozen all your accounts and canceled your credit cards. Your fancy sports car is not available to you at the moment. If you leave this house it will be by foot and with only the clothes on your back. You will be homeless.”

Annie felt as though she’d been punched in the chest. She wondered if he had done the same thing to her mother or worse. That would explain why the woman had seemingly dropped off the face of the earth.

        Ten minutes . . .

Vera and Annie gazed out the window of the church where her father’s white stretch-limousine was parked. The plan was, once she and Eldon had taken their vows and the photographer his pictures, they were to be driven to the St. Regis where three adjoining ball rooms would accommodate the reception and luncheon. She and Eldon were to spend the night and board a plane for Venice the following day.

“What are you going to do, Annie?” Vera whispered, bringing her back to the present.

Annie looked at her. “I’m not going through with it. I’d rather be broke and homeless than marry a man I detest.”

Vera smiled and said, “I knew that would be your answer. I slipped two thousand dollars inside your purse. I can drive you to a friend’s house. She will be a good friend to you as well, Annie.”

“Oh, Vera,” Annie said, feeling the sting of tears. “I can never thank you enough for everything.”

Vera was tearful as well. “Would you like for me to call your father in?”         Annie dreaded it. Six hundred wedding guests. Her father’s wrath would fly into her face like a horde of angry hornets.

And then it hit her: Winston Hartford was too smart to take a chance on something like this happening. He had changed her entire life within three hours of her breaking off the engagement; he’d had weeks to come up with a plan should Annie try to weasel out of the wedding. But what else could he do to her?

She feared the answer was standing right in front of her. He would go after the only person she had left that she really loved.

Annie frowned when the chauffeur suddenly jumped from the limo and hurried toward the back of the church. “What’s wrong with Snedley?”

“He has prostate trouble, the poor man,” Vera said. “Runs to the men’s room every fifteen minutes.” She sighed and headed for the door.

“Wait!” Annie said. “Where does that door lead?” she asked, motioning to a solid oak door on the opposite side of the room.

“To the back of the church,” Vera said. “The Sunday school rooms and offices,” she added, “plus a big kitchen and a couple of dining rooms. Why?”

“Does Snedley ever leave the keys in the limo? Is there a spare?”

“I don’t know. Why are you asking?”

Eight minutes . . .

“I need for you to detain him when he comes out of the men’s room so I can get away.”

“Get away?” Vera frowned. “How?”

“I’m going to make a run for the limo.”

“Oh, Lord!” Vera said. She looked like she might faint.

“I don’t want you and Snedley to get into trouble. All you have to do is say you had no idea I was planning anything.”

Vera nodded.

Someone knocked on the door.

Five minutes . . .

        “That’s the assistant,” Vera said. “Just a minute,” she called out softly. She looked at Annie. “Check the ashtray for keys. I seem to recall something about the ashtray. Now, listen carefully,” she said. “Take the interstate south to Pinckney, Georgia. It is three hours away. Find Lillian Calhoun. I’ll call you when I feel it’s safe. Your father will be watching me.”

Annie nodded.

Another knock, this one impatient . . .

Two minutes . . .

        “I love you,” Annie said and kissed her on the cheek. She threw open the door, gathered an armful of satin and crinoline and raced toward an Exit sign. The limo was parked some thirty feet away. Fortunately, the media had set up their cameras at the front of the church. There was nobody in sight.

It suddenly occurred to Annie that she had left her purse inside the parlor. “Dammit!” she said. She had no money, no driver’s license or ID, no clothes, nothing! Just a stupid wedding gown.

She could not risk going back. It was now or never.  To  continue you can Buy See Bride Run!

Romance Novel Book Cover

See Bride Run
Charlotte Hughes