SPRING FLING Blog Hop #HopswithHeart

Sepia Shot of a Young Kissing Couple. Photo.Today the Spring Fling Blog Hop commences and the fun ensues. Join me in celebration of LOVE and SPRING!

Is there anything more Spring-like than seeing daffodils pushing up through cold, often wet ground to reach the sun? Here in northern Arkansas, the daffodils are up and beginning to bloom. The birds are returning. I see and hear more of them every day. And those noisy little frogs, the Spring Peepers, are in full song every evening.

Soon the Phoebe’s will return to their nest, court and preen and do what birds do in Spring. Yes, even the birds know that Spring is the best time for love.

Just as the earth comes alive again, so do our hearts, if we let them. And that’s the catch, isn’t it? To risk getting hurt again, to trust someone with our heart?

To illustrate that inner struggle, here’s a short excerpt from the first book in my Sweetwater Springs series, A Suitable Wife:

Rosie waited for the door to close behind her. When it clicked shut, her composure dissolved. She touched trembling fingertips to her lips and squeezed her eyes shut, reliving the moment Sam had deepened the kiss. The flash of heat had surprised her and had nothing to do with mere friendship.

She’d thought needing an infusion of cash into her business was a big deal. But this was huge. All their talk of marriage and wedding plans, hand-holding and kissing had resurrected hopes and dreams she’d thought destroyed. Dead.

From his ever present humor, he obviously hadn’t experienced the same level of attraction to her, if any.

Sam had made it clear this was a temporary, strictly business agreement. He didn’t want anything from her except a wifely performance good enough to fool a judge.

How could she possibly keep her attraction hidden for a whole year?


After a night of troubled sleep, the best solution Rosie could think of was avoidance. Whenever she and Sam weren’t in the public eye, she’d simply avoid him.

She’d figure out a way to make it work. After all, he had his work and she had hers. They needn’t spend every waking hour together.

As she backed the van from her garage, a masculine voice called “Hey, Rosie!” She braked and looked for its source.

Sam approached her vehicle. He was dressed for a run, in shorts and a tank that had seen better days. Lorelei rode along in front of him, buckled into a three-wheeled stroller.

Rosie lowered her window, deciding designers wasted their time with the business casual look. Rugged tatters were infinitely more appealing.

“Good morning.” Sam stopped alongside the van and leaned a tanned forearm on her window frame. He smelled deliciously clean with a trace of shaving cream. “Are we still on for brunch?”

Rosie tried hard not to let her gaze stray from his face. She would not stare at the sprinkling of chest hair peeking over his tank. Glance, maybe—to commit to memory—but no staring. Concentrating on his face didn’t help either. One look in those serious eyes rimmed with long dark lashes and her lower abdomen ached in the best way possible.

“We need to be seen together a lot,” he reminded her.

Right. Except then she couldn’t avoid him.

She tried to concentrate on his words. “I have a couple errands to run, but we could meet back here in about an hour.”

“Great. I’m sure the power bar I had for breakfast will be long gone by then.” He turned to leave, then pivoted back. “I called Bill earlier. He’ll overnight the prenup in the morning. If you can manage a couple hours free during the week, we could run by the courthouse, apply for the license and have everything ready for a quick ceremony after we tell your folks.”

“I’ll check my schedule and let you know when I can work it in.”

“All right. See you later.” Sam leaned in the window and gave her cheek a quick kiss. “There’s an elderly couple walking this way. Couldn’t pass up the opportunity,” he whispered with a wink before retreating.

Rosie stared at the spot where his face had disappeared, her cheek hot where his lips had brushed skin. She inhaled his lingering scent before checking her rearview mirror and accelerating. Nothing happened. She blinked twice while staring at the gearshift before realizing she’d shifted the van into park. Sheesh! The man should be arrested for looking so . . . distracting this early in the morning.

Here she was getting more gaga over his fine, testosterone-filled self by the minute, and he was merely concerned with getting the show on the road.

Why couldn’t she look at their agreement the same way?

Until she’d sequestered herself in the dark confines of her bedroom last night, she hadn’t realized how much the thought of a quick civil ceremony bothered her. Fake marriage or not, a hundred guests or two witnesses, she’d always seen herself in a long, white dress and veil at her wedding. And she was getting married—sort of.

She gripped the steering wheel, rested her forehead on her hands and sighed. It was silly to feel cheated. But this wedding might be her only personal experience with one. The fallout from her relationship with Dean had left her feeling like she was . . . less. Damaged goods. Not quite whole. Until Sam’s odd proposal, she’d kept buried what few romantic notions remained.

Stop it, Rosie scolded herself. She’d made her decision and she’d stick with it. Sam needed her. Lorelei needed her.

It would have to be enough.

She could still avoid Sam whenever possible. She might be stuck parading around town with him this morning, but the rest of the day would be hers alone.

– – – – –
The Grand Prizes for the Spring Fling Blog Hop are:
One Kindle Fire–Donated by Blushing Books!
One $75 Gift Card to Amazon (or Barnes and Noble)–Donated by Jane!
One $25 Starbucks Gift Card–Donated by Sue Lyndon!
One $25 Gift Certificate to Blushing Books–Donated by Patty Devlin!

For the Grand Prize Giveaway, readers only need to fill out the Rafflecopter box and press enter! (One entry per person!) Winners will be chosen on Monday, March 24 using Random.org. Click on this link: a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter the Grand Prize Giveaway.

CarolBurnside_ASuitableWife800In addition, I’m giving away an ecopy of A Suitable Wife and a $10 Amazon Gift Card. For my prizes, entrants are required only to comment on this post. If you’re so inclined, browse around this website for more excerpts and book info. You may also connect with me via Facebook / Twitter / Newsletter / Goodreads

Winners of my prizes will be drawn on March 24th from commenters on this blog. and announced on this blog by March 25th. Good luck!

This link will take you to more participating authors and more prizes! http://www.hopswithheart.blogspot.com

About Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn

Carol Burnside is an award-winning author of "Sizzling romance with heart and humor." She almost always has a glass of sweet tea within arm's reach.
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74 Responses to SPRING FLING Blog Hop #HopswithHeart

  1. Cyndi Flores says:

    I checked out your sight great books!! Thank you for joining the hop I love finding new authors I have not read! Happy spring!


  2. Natasha says:

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    Happy Spring!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com


  3. BookAttict says:

    Thanks for the amazing excerpt & giveaway!
    elizabeth @ bookattict . com
    WordPress: BookAttict


  4. Eli Pacheco says:

    Love the excerpt. Is it bad that because I don’t know more about the characters, I just picture it as me and Nicholle Tom as my leading lady?


  5. Celina K says:

    Great excerpt, thanks!

    dreammie_angel at yahoo dot com


  6. froggarita says:

    I follow you on FB and twitter!



  7. Esther T says:

    Great excerpt – it really grabs the attention! I can’t wait to read the rest!
    Also, congrats on the daffodils and peepers … we got 5 cm of new snow last night and they are calling for 35 more on Wednesday! 🙂


  8. Kanoko says:

    It sounds lovely. I’m a poor sucker for small-town romance, and the marriage of convenience and pretend lovers tropes are two of my absolute favourites. Thank you for the peek, and for the reading chance. ❤ There goes another series to my TBR list.


  9. Kristen says:

    Happy Spring! Thanks for the giveaway!
    prettylittlepages @ gmail . com


  10. Skeeter Lee says:

    Happy Spring! My favorite spring time activity is reading on my front porch.

    A Suitable Wife sounds like a good choice to kick off the season.

    Thanks for hosting the giveaway. Fingers crossed to win.

    I follow you on twitter! @KinkyVanillaRom

    skeeterlee63 [at] gmail.com


  11. Contest is now closed. Thanks to everyone who participated. If you’d like news about new releases, please sign up for my newsletter. (Top of right column.) Happy reading, all!


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