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Ebook Romance Stories: White Knight, Excerpt

White Knight

Book 2

~ The Courage Series ~

“Oh, and if you find popcorn over by the couch,” A.J. said as Eve retrieved her small jacket from the closet and slipped into it, “That was Eve’s fault.”

“Ah,” she said as if she had been wounded. “That wasn’t very nice.” She took a swing and caught his shoulder with her fist. He shrugged away from the punch even as he laughed.

“Well, I didn’t want her to blame me!”

Ashley and Gabe laughed.

“Well, come back and we’ll make some more popcorn just for you,” Gabe said as he laid a hand on Ashley’s shoulder.

“Just tell me when,” A.J. said. “I never pass up free food.”

Eve leveled an exasperated gaze at Ashley. “He’s such a guy.”

“You act like that’s a bad thing,” A.J. said, looking at her with a smile in his eyes that rounded down into his apple-curved cheekbones.

One look at Ashley and she and Eve said, “It is!”

Good-byes flew in all directions as the last four partygoers stepped out into the cold night. At last the door closed behind them, and the light of the streetlamps guided their journey down the sidewalk.

“Drive careful, you two,” A.J. said, waving to Jeff and Lisa when they got to the end of the sidewalk and he and Eve started to turn the other direction.

“You too,” Jeff said, and then he stopped. When he looked at Eve, all playfulness was gone. “Do you want us to follow you home?”

Eve’s face scrunched in annoyance. “I’m a big girl, Jeff. I think I can get home by myself.”

“Are you sure? Because it’s really no trouble.”

Eve smiled softly. “It’s an hour out of your way. Just get your wife home and into a bathtub. I’ll be fine.”

“Okay,” Jeff said uncertainly after a long moment. He stared at them, sizing up the situation and her. “Do you want to call us when you get there?”

“I’ll be fine,” Eve said in exasperation. “It’s not like I haven’t driven by myself before.”

“Well, which direction are you headed?” A.J. asked, breaking into the conversation.

“South,” Eve said shortly.

“I’m headed South. I’m going as far as Elgin. I can follow you that far if you want.”

Eve looked at Jeff for his blessing. “Happy now?”

Jeff took a moment to assess A.J. and another to decide. “Yeah, I guess that’ll work.”

“Good,” Eve said, crossing her arms over herself, “because it’s freezing out here. See you, Lis.”

“Call me,” Lisa said as Eve turned and started for the cars, but ten steps down the sidewalk she realized that A.J. wasn’t with her. In annoyance she turned just in time to see him shake Jeff’s hand and nod. On her heel she turned and stomped to her car. She wasn’t a baby. She had managed to make it through 29 whole years without Jeff’s constant protective gaze following her every move. How she had ever managed, she was sure he couldn’t quite tell.

Just then she heard the tennis shoes on the concrete behind her, and in the next heartbeat A.J. jogged up beside her.

“I’ve got ten cents that says you drive better than he does,” A.J. said.

“Ten cents? Boy, you have a lot of confidence in me.”

“Okay, make it 20, but that’s my final offer.”

She glanced at him skeptically.

“Hey,” he said, his tone serious, “I have to eat this week you know.”

Eve shook her head and laughed, and as mad as she was at the whole situation, for some reason she just couldn’t be mad with him at her side. “Okay, twenty cents it is.” Without question he followed her across the street and to her car, and then it was time to say good-bye. Gratefulness poured through her as she glanced at him. “I had fun tonight.”

He shrugged. “It was a party. You were supposed to have fun.”

“Well, it was extra fun.”

That apple rounded across the top of his cheek. “I thought so too.”

For a moment she stood, not really wanting to leave.

“Take care driving home,” he said and backed away from her. At the door to the little brown Honda Civic across the street he stopped. “And don’t lose me either.”

“Try to keep up.”

 White Knight
~ The Courage Series~
Book 2

“Expect the unexpected…”

“Through a series of entertaining twists and turns and a lot of suspense, two very unlikely people find in each other a reason to laugh and love and live.”

–Amazon Reviewer, Myrna Brorman

The hardest part is losing the person someone else loves… 

Buy your copy today for:

Kindle Ebook: http://ow.ly/ckyuq

B&N Nook: http://ow.ly/ckyMh

Ebook Romance Stories: Cowboy, Chapter 1

#9 Top-Rated Religious Fiction @ Amazon

Cowboy New 2-2014

Cowboy

The Harmony Series, Book 1

by:  Staci Stallings

~*~*~*~

To all those who think that love has let them down…

Please never stop believing in love’s power to heal all things.

In God’s eyes, the light of hope shines eternal

where love is concerned… and so it is for you.

 ~*~*~*~

Chapter 1

“You’re never going to believe who’s coming to Denver!” Lynn Isley squealed as she streaked into the empty restaurant from the kitchen doors.

Standing at the cash register counting change, Beth McCasland barely even looked up. “Who?”

Lynn dropped her voice conspiratorially although there wasn’t a single soul in the place to overhear her anyway. “Ashton Raines!”

“65.82.” Beth dumped the pennies back in the register and frowned. “Ashton Raines?  Isn’t he that country singer?”

That country singer?” Lynn asked in disbelief as she tied her blue-and-white Harry’s All-Night Diner apron around her waist. “Are you kidding me? Ashton Raines is the country singer. He not only won Male Vocalist of the Year three years in a row, he won Entertainer of the Year last year and Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and… Beth!”

Somewhere just past one of the ‘of the Years’ Beth had tuned Lynn out.

“What?” She looked up from the drawer innocently, and when she saw the look on Lynn’s face, she repeated, “What?”

“Where’d you go?”

“The drawer’s ten cents off.” Beth looked back at it in consternation. “What do you think we should do?”

Lynn shook her head. “Who cares?”

“I do.” A moment of thought and Beth pulled a dime out of her own pocket and dropped it into the register.

In disbelief, Lynn surveyed her friend, her dark eyes flashing. “What’d you do that for?”

Beth shrugged and slammed the drawer. “It’s either that or hear Harry yell for two hours.”

“But…” Lynn began just as the bell on the front door sounded.

“Customers,” Beth said, indicating the door and signaling that the conversation was over with one word. She tucked a wayward blonde wavy-curl behind her ear, grabbed three menus, and started toward the door without bothering to wait for Lynn to so much as exhale.

*~*~*

“Ashton, what in the world are you doing up there?” Barry Braxton yelled to the stonewashed jean-clad figure leaning perilously over the edge of the top row of bleachers.

“These bleachers have to be up by seven,” Ashton yelled back over the din of workers surrounding him without so much as looking down at his manager.

“They will be,” Barry called, “but if you fall, we won’t be needing them anyway.”

Irritation at being treated like a three-year-old crawled through Ashton’s chest as he twisted the wrench on the bolt he was working on with three more quick jerks. “I’m not going to fall, Barry.”

“Well, why don’t you come on down anyway?” Barry set his hands on the rolls of excess weight just beneath his off-brown, button up shirt. “Really. There’s no reason for you to be up there. I’m sure the crew can get it.”

“Look around you, Bare.” Ashton waved the wrench angrily. “We go on in three hours. Does it look like they’re going to be ready?”

Barry shook his balding head in disgust. He really couldn’t argue with that as much as he obviously wanted to. With the concert set to start in three hours, Ashton knew his manager would’ve preferred him to be in his dressing room getting ready rather than tightening bolts on the bleachers for their latest venue. However, here he was twisting bolt after bolt tighter and tighter, wrenching his anger and frustration into them as if that would somehow make everything better.

After a full thirty seconds Barry stalked off leaving his golden egg hanging off the edge of a set of bleachers that looked like it might fall any second. Ashton didn’t so much as watch him leave. Barry, of all people, knew Ashton’s stubborn streak ran a mile deep and just as wide. And the fact that he had acquired a death wish in the last year didn’t help matters.

Trying not to think lest the memories swarm him again, he bent his head and body into the work. If he could just keep working, keep moving, keep going, somehow he would find a way past the hurt. If he didn’t, Humpty Dumpty would look easy to put back together by comparison.

*~*~*

“So, do you want to go?” Lynn asked as she walked up to the counter where Beth stood during a slight lull in the afternoon lunch chaos.

“Go where?” Beth asked, tallying up three tickets at the same time.

Lynn leaned on the counter. Her freckled arms created a triangle with her waist. “The concert.”

Wishing Lynn would leave her alone so she could concentrate, Beth bit the pink lipstick of her bottom lip. “What concert?”

“Hello, Beth…? Is anybody in there?” Lynn waved her hand in the air.

The bells on the front door jingled. Without bothering to uphold her end of the conversation, Beth stepped around the counter. “I’ll be right back.” She heard Lynn growl in frustration, but there were other things in the world far more important than concerts and having fun. On top of that priority list was eeking out a living. She met the two customers at the door. “Good afternoon. Would you like a booth or a table?”

*~*~*

Ashton heard the familiar music the second it poured down from the enormous speakers three levels above him. The roar of the crowd that followed the music never ceased to amaze him. On the outside he looked ready—calm, cool, professional, but inside he was a disaster waiting to happen. This was the hardest part of every show. Right now she would’ve been with him, holding his hand right to the stage steps, telling him good luck, and kissing him. What he wouldn’t have given for one more kiss.

He could feel her even now, and every part of him wanted nothing more than to walk away from it all—walk away and never come back. Without her, everything had become too hard, too draining, too overwhelming. Just as the pain threatened to take him over the edge, he heard it—the four notes—his cue, and in with one giant shove, he stuffed all the hurt back down and stepped up the stairs and onto the stage as the entire arena exploded in lights, music, and screaming around him. In fact, it was so loud that not one person in the entire arena heard his heart snap right down the middle.

*~*~*

“You going home?” Lynn asked as Beth grabbed her coat from the rack.

She slid her arms into the warmth of the wool, knowing how the early April chill in Colorado could seep into a person despite all their best efforts. “Yeah, Tori should be here any time now, and I’ve got to stop at my parents’ to get Kenzie.”

“How’s she doing?” Lynn asked with genuine concern.

“Oh, growing like a weed.” Beth laughed softly and pushed the blonde curl that never quite made it into the clip at the back of her head from the edge of her face. No matter how many clips she used, she could never quite get her hair to stay up through a full eight-hour shift. “I can’t believe she’ll be starting kindergarten in the fall.”

“No kidding.” Lynn’s concern sank on the sigh that went through Beth. “You okay?”

“Yeah.” Beth ducked so her friend couldn’t see the real answer. “It just hard sometimes.” Buttoning the coat was a good excuse not to look up.

“I know, but I’m sure Kevin would be proud of how well she’s done.”

Beth smiled through the ache, which stabbed viciously into her heart. She grabbed her things from the counter. “Well, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Okay, you take care—and drive careful.”

“I will.”

Lynn watched her friend go. It had to be hard to go home every night with a child and all alone at the same time. Worse, the only places Beth ever went were her parents’ house, the diner, and home. The only time she ever went out was when Lynn forced her to, and it had been far too long since their last outing.

The radio behind her crackled. “KGRC, is proud to welcome Ashton Raines to The Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado on June 12th…”

The concert. Somehow she would find a way to talk her friend into going. It wasn’t much, but it was better than nothing.

*~*~*

“Hey, great show, Ashton,” Barry said, slapping him on the back the second he descended into backstage after the second encore.

Ashton forced a smile onto his face. “Thanks.”

“We’ve got some people backstage,” Barry continued as though Ashton hadn’t heard all this a million times before.

“There he is!” someone from down the hall yelled, and in a breath he was crushed by a sea of fans.

Overwhelming numbness took over as he accepted the pieces of paper being shoved in his face. Over and over he signed a name that no longer seemed to even belong to him. It was everywhere. On T-shirts, CD jackets, programs, in lights above the entrance to every auditorium door he walked through.

As he signed the name yet another time, it occurred to him that somehow he had lost everything—not even his own name was his anymore. He wasn’t Ashton Raines, and yet if he wasn’t Ashton Raines, who was he, and when he had ceased to exist as a real person?

“That’s enough!” Barry held his hands up, forcing his way through the crowd to make a path for Ashton to follow. “We appreciate you all coming out! Thank you! Thank you!”

Somehow Ashton followed his manager, somehow his feet worked, somehow… and yet if he had to explain just how, he would never have been able to.

*~*~*

Beth lay on Kenzie’s bed, the book in one hand, Kenzie resting on the other arm. “‘Open the door,’ the prince commanded, and the guards obeyed. When the door opened, there stood Katrina in her dress of rags. ‘Hello,’ said the prince kindly. ‘Hello,’ Katrina said. ‘May I have this dance?’ the prince asked, holding out his hand to her. She took it, and they danced the whole night away. The end.”

Beth closed the book and then looked down and smiled. Kenzie. The soft little face. The rosy cheeks. The most beautiful child in the world. Her last precious gift from Kevin. At times it seemed she was almost past the pain, and then at other times, like tonight, the thought of going to a bed devoid of his spirit threatened to fling her into a pit of despair.

Five years. Five long years, and still she missed him, and at that moment, watching their daughter sleep, the soft baby blonde curls fanned out on the pink pillow, she knew she would miss him forever.

*~*~*

“We’ve got some new material in,” Barry said as Ashton put his feet up on the coffee table, leaned his head back against the couch, and closed his eyes. “Meredith thinks one of them is a keeper.”

“Hmm.”

“Anyway, I thought maybe tomorrow on the way to Atlanta we could give it a once over—just to see what you think,” Barry continued, going over his checklist. “The concert in Tucson sold out yesterday in under two hours. They’re thinking about adding a second show. What do you think?”

“Fine,” Ashton said without ever opening his eyes.

The to-do list went silent. “Ken called. He’s wondering how you’re doing.”

Ashton was really tired of answering this already age-old question.

“How are you doing?” Barry asked pointedly. “Really?”

Slowly Ashton exhaled—knowing full well that the truth and what Barry wanted to hear were two totally different things. “You know me, Bare.” He opened his eyes to a reality he now hated.

“Yes, I do, and I’m not the only one who’s worried about you.”

Ashton smiled at that. Barry was worried all right—for himself mostly.

“I’m fine.” With no small amount of effort, Ashton pulled himself off the couch. “Just a little tired.”

Barry followed him up off the couch without taking his gaze off him.

“What time are we pulling out in the morning?” Ashton asked, stretching slowly, the starched shirt he still wore from the concert stuck in weird angles to the dried sweat on his back.

“Ten.”

“Then I’d better get my beauty rest.” Ashton yawned. “I’d hate to be sick for Atlanta.”

“Yeah,” Barry said unenthusiastically. “I’ll be here to get you around nine-thirty?”

“I’ll be ready.” Ashton followed Barry to the door. “And I promise we’ll go over the new stuff tomorrow.”

“That’s great.”

He held the door open for his manager. “Well, good night, Bare.”

“Night,” Barry said, but the closing door cut off the word.

Ashton exhaled and let his eyelids fall shut. It was true he was tired, but this tired had nothing to do with his work on stage. This tired was something he had never experienced in his life until now. It had nothing to do with sleep and everything to do with the hole he found every time he looked into his heart. He shook his head to clear it of the disturbing thoughts and went to take a shower.

Cowboy New 2-2014

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Character Insight: Rick’s Review


Dreams by Starlight Final 1-17-2014A fictional review of the play “Don’t Listen to the Fates” in “Dreams by Starlight.”

Rick’s Reviews

Normally I don’t review high school productions.  First of all, they are rarely, if ever, what I would call even mildly entertaining.  Usually mind-numbingly awful, incredibly boring, and a complete waste of time are far closer. For the most part, they feature a few kids scrambling for lines and forgetting their cues.  And who other than parents and teachers wants to endure that?

That’s not to say there is not a time and place for high school productions. They are very worthy for training up our next set of entertainers, but for me and this column, they are normally persona non grata.

I suppose that’s why I’m so surprised to be writing this particular column today.  It was not on my schedule.  I had no plans to write this review last week, and my editor may be somewhat surprised as well when I turn this in.

However, I must give credit where it’s due.  Over the weekend, I went (okay, I was dragged) to my niece’s high school play, “Don’t Listen to the Fates.”  Said niece had a small part, but my sister is a big part of my life, so I went, preparing to suffer through the evening and not much more.

What I found instead was a fully-engaging experience that I still can’t quite get out of my head.  The entire cast was magnificent, but I give special kudos to the leads.  Jaylon Quinn and Camille Wright were perfectly cast as the lovers that fate can’t quite figure out what to do with.

The premise of the three-act was boilerplate at best.  Hot girl dumps guy.  Guy wants to get even.  Guy asks out hot girl’s shy and quiet sister, and then finds said sister much more to his liking.  As plots go, not exactly my style, but less-than-horrible I suppose if you’re into the romance genre of entertainment.

But what grabbed at least this viewer’s attention was the depth and feeling Quinn and Wright brought to their scenes–especially when they were on stage together.  In fact, in a real way, this viewer forgot this was a play, on a stage, in a musty auditorium.  Maybe that’s sappy, but the truth is, I was caught up, feeling for Hawk (Quinn’s character) as he moved from selfish egotist to compassionate, caring friend, unveiling as he went a depth to the character not even the playwright could full have captured without this particular actor embodying the part.

And Wright… I don’t even know where to begin to capture the brilliance of her shining light on the stage.  Show-stealer is an understatement. Those who have been reading these reviews for very long know I don’t go for silly sentimental hogwash that portends to tug at our heartstrings when in reality it tugs our lunch back up, but Wright as Lauren had me cheering from my seat when she dumped Hawk for using her.  Moreover, she had me wiping a tear when she reappeared on stage, alone, and distraught after the break-up.

There was a part of me, (maybe it’s the new dad of a baby girl thing who can ever tell?) that wanted to go up and hug her–right after knocking Hawk’s block off for hurting her like that.

Suffice it to say, this reviewer was very impressed with the acting chops displayed by these marvelously talented young thespians.  I will tell you this much:  I have thought about and relived scenes from that play in my heart and in my head more over this past weekend than I have any movie I have seen in quite some time.

Maybe it was my mood.  Maybe it was the night.  Maybe no one else thought it was at all remarkable. Who knows?  But for one small moment in time I literally held my breath for the final kiss.

And it did not disappoint.


Dreams by Starlight Final 1-17-2014Buy “Dreams by Starlight”

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Ebook Romance Stories

by:  Staci Stallings

Romance stories have been around since long before Romeo and Juliet, even before Penelope and Odysseus.  Why?  Because romance is in the heart of a woman and every man who loves a woman.

We love romantic stories about heroic men and the women they love.  We enjoy reading about love stories that have happily ever after at the end.  It’s not a weakness, it’s a strength.

For if at the end of time three things will last, and these are faith, hope, and love, do you not also remember that the “greatest of these is love”?

Love is what we’re all seeking, what we all desire.  We want to love and to be loved, and in the pages of romance novels, we get to experience that in some small breath.

But what of Christian romance novels, which Ebook Romance Stories focuses on?  What sets them apart from the others?

What sets Christian romance stories apart from the other romance novels is their ability to not just show the love of a man for a woman, but in their further ability to portray God’s love for us all.

God’s love is there for us no matter what–single or married, tough times and good.  When death strikes or trouble comes, when we’re on top of the mountain or down in the valley, God’s love is right there with us.  It is unconditional and it never fails. And when we mesh the love of a man for a woman with the love God gives each of them, we come away with an unbreakable bond that truly does spell happily ever after, not just in this life but in the next.

So journey with us through these romance stories.  Some are available as free online books.  Some are available as Amazon Kindle books and/or BN Nook Books.  Still others are in-print.  Some are best selling, others are looking for that right person to review them so they can become bestselling. You can also find the first chapter of several books to read as well as excerpts and links to Amazon and BN to get the ebooks!

We hope you enjoy the site–Ebook Romance Stories as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together.  Feel free to share your “find” of this site with others.  Most of all, we hope you learn to fall in love all over again with “Christian romance at its Best!” that is found on every page of this site!

Happy Reading!

The Ebook Romance Stories Staff