Essential Beginnings Kennedy Layne

Our Favorite Single Moms in Romance

In honor of this most glorious holiday, we present to you a list of our favorite single moms in romance!


One old farmhouse brought them together. It could also tear them apart.

Gigi has just uprooted her whole world to start a new life. The unexpected gift of a farmhouse in small-town Montana is just what she and her daughter need to escape big-city loneliness. The last thing she needs is attitude from the town’s sheriff, the most perfectly attractive and ruggedly handsome man she’s ever laid eyes on—and a complete jerk.

Jess knows all about women like Gigi. Beautiful. Sexy. Scheming. She’s stolen his sanctuary, the farmhouse that should have been his. But along with a face full of freckles, she’s got a sharp wit and a backbone of steel—something he doesn’t discover until after making a complete fool of himself. If he can earn back her trust and win her heart, he might just find the home he’s always needed.

306364(2.)  SUGAR DADDY by Lisa Kleypas

Liberty Jones has dreams and determination that will take her far away from Welcome, Texas—if she can keep her wild heart from ruling her mind. Hardy Cates sees Liberty as completely off-limits. His own ambitions are bigger than Welcome, and Liberty Jones is a complication he doesn’t need. But something magical and potent draws them to each other, in a dangerous attraction that is stronger than both of them.

When Hardy leaves town to pursue his plans, Liberty finds herself alone with a young sister to raise. Soon Liberty finds herself under the spell of a billionaire tycoon—a Sugar Daddy, one might say. But the relationship goes deeper than people think, and Liberty begins to discover secrets about her own family’s past.

Two men. One woman. A choice that can make her or break her. A woman you’ll root for every step of the way. A love story you’ll never forget.

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Flirting with the Law by Vanessa Vale

flirting with the law
Chasing the infamous Black Widow, they may be the ones getting caught.

Maddie didn’t want to be an outlaw, but fate forced her hand. Now she’s known as the Black Widow, the wild and deadly leader of a group of women fugitives. The law has hunted them before, but Maddie can’t walk away from her new life until justice is served.

Jackson and Seth are experienced U.S. Marshals. Bringing in a rag-tag group of women outlaws should be easy. But one look at Maddie and everything changes. Right and wrong, lust and duty blur along the edges as these two rough cowboys discover the truth about Maddie’s dark past and fall in love.

A new series with two heroes! Who doesn’t love a cowboy…or two? This steamy MFM historical romance is ALL about the woman. Check out an exclusive excerpt below! 

“You don’t even know my name,” I replied, turning my head slightly. Mr. Bane was right there. I could see the hard line of his jaw, just the hint of whiskers, his full lips, his pale eyes that held humor and heat. I couldn’t help but breathe in his clean, male scent before he took his seat again. 

I’d recovered from choking on my water, but not as much from their topic of conversation, or his nearness. I couldn’t believe the, well, gall of these two. Their boldness. I didn’t let them respond, just kept right on talking. “We’ve just met, not even thirty minutes ago and you want to marry me?” 

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Sisters in Love Melissa Foster
Guest Post

GIVEAWAY: One Little Kiss by Maggie Kelley


One Little Kiss. Sometimes that’s all it takes. A good kiss can turn a first date into a perfect date or a perfect date into love. As a die-hard fan of romantic stories and movies, I’m thrilled when a sexy, inspired kiss kicks off the action or wraps up the story with a happily ever after. I’m a sucker for that kind of thing. So here’s my list of amazing movie kisses, a half-dozen fantastic, fall-for-me lip locks that made me believe that sometimes a kiss really does say it all.

  1. Crazy, Stupid, Love. Such a sweet, funny movie about the not-so-smart choices we make for love, and while Steve Carrell and Julianne Moore are adorable together, it’s the moment when a rain-soaked Emma Stone walks into a bar, grabs Ryan Gosling and pulls him into a kiss that says, ‘Now or never, gorgeous’, that knocks the movie out of the park for me. Out of the park.
  1. An Officer & a Gentleman. So you’ve heard the adage, ‘there’s nothing like a man in uniform’. Well, if that man is the damaged and determined Richard Gere striding through a factory to lift a gob-smacked Debra Winger into his arms and carry her away to what can only be an afternoon of delight, well, that adage makes a helluva lotta sense. Perhaps the most romantic movie ending of all time. Definitely top three.

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Autumn Thorns Yasmine Galenorn
Guest Post

Why Romance is Powerful by Abigail Baker

I’m marked for death.

If I can get this Deathmark removed, I can help save the world from total ruin. Only thing is, Brent Hume, Grim Reaper and love of my life, is hot on my trail, zeroing in on the mark that beckons him. The Reaper’s instinct cannot be denied. He would sooner stop breathing than ignore a Deathmark’s call.

He’s a tireless supernatural hunter, and I’m his top prey. If I don’t find a way to stop him from doing his job, everything and everyone I love will suffer. The world will suffer. And I’m sick of letting people down, dammit.

But even as I run from him, I want to run toward him.


When I am asked what kind of books I write, I proudly say romance. I mean, my novels won’t get nominated for major literary awards. My Deathmark series won’t win a Pulitzer. But the Deathmark series—I hope—will whisk readers away to another world where there is a promise of action, adventure, love, laughter, and happily ever after. If Ollie and Brent’s story entertains you, then I’ve done my job.

Romance is an amazing genre. Readers love their HEAs. They crave them. Life is filled with grim details. It is nice to read a story where those grim details are overcome for a satisfying ending.

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Giveaway, Guest Post

Heather Long’s Passionate Affair with Romance


The first book I remember flipping through was a pop-up Greek mythology book. It had these great “statues” of the gods along with simple tales about them—including love affairs. I loved that book. I paged through it until it began to fall apart. This is a pretty typical story. Most kids have other picture books, usually featuring kittens and puppies.  Not me—well, I probably had them, but I don’t remember them.

What I do remember was curling up next to my grandmother (I couldn’t sit on her, because she’d had cancer and was going through treatments) while she read me her Harlequin romances. Yep, at the age of three, she fed me a steady diet of boy meets girl, secret babies, millionaire bosses, Cinderella tales, and more. She really didn’t like picture books, but she did love her Harlequins.

Whenever the scene might get “steamy” she would tell me the characters had to go to bed to take a nap or they had to do their chores. Even after I learned to read, she would take an hour each evening and read aloud to me from these magical tales where everything worked out in the end.

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Out of the Ashes by RC Boldt

Phoenix /fēniks/: (in classical mythology) a unique bird inhabiting the Arabian Desert that burned itself on a funeral pyre before rising from the ashes with renewed youth to live through another cycle.

This isn’t mythology, it’s war, and Hendy is left in the hands of Hell’s cruelest gatekeepers.

His team is killed before his very eyes, and despite his efforts to save them, he’s captured and subjected to merciless torture—losing virtually every piece of his identity but his pulse.

After his rescue, he returns home from Afghanistan, saddled with facing the daunting task of healing his physical scars as well as the invisible ones—his emotional demons.

Dr. Presley Cole isn’t one to shy away from a challenge. Embarking on a new journey, she makes it her mission to prove to Hendy that his life isn’t over; that he’s worthy of love.

Because sometimes even a phoenix needs help to rise… Out of the Ashes.

Check out an exclusive excerpt below!

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

Bethesda, Maryland


Two months later

I could hear the voices at the doorway of my hospital room, and while I recognized both, one of them stood out.

One of them caught me off guard.

That same voice elicited anticipation from within me. I’d never gotten serious about any woman, but she was one I thought might have potential, the only one I could see myself getting serious with.

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Guest Post

5 Reasons Why the Paparazzi are Obsessed with #Vashton by Santino Hassell

The stars of CONCOURSE, the newest standalone novel in the M/M romance Five Boroughs series, are Ashton Townsend and Valdrin Leka and the paparazzi love them. Ashton is NYC royalty—a party boy born into old money and who has a messy personal life and a big Instagram presence. His newest love is a amateur boxer from the Bronx who is rumored to be the son of Ashton’s former nanny. Intrigued yet? See how you feel after you read the top five reasons why the paps chase them around throughout the book.

#1 Ashton’s love life is the stuff of New York City socialite legend. He’s been linked to everyone from married blue bloods, real estate moguls, and airline execs. There may have even been a fling with a politician here or there throughout the years. But now? He’s been spotted several times with tall, dark, and muscular Valdrin. They’re so different it can’t be real, so of course the paps are determined to prove that it is.

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Exclusive Excerpt

Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny by Cindi Madsen

Confession #1: I used to be a puck bunny, but after a hockey player broke my heart, I gave up all things hockey. Now I’m just focused on finding a way to pass my math class so I can graduate college.

Confession #2: Ryder “Ox” Maddox’s deep, sexy voice sends fuzzy tingles through my entire body, and I’m powerless to stop it. Which is a big problem since the hot, surprisingly funny hockey player is my new math tutor. 

Confession #3: I can’t stop thinking about how ripped Ryder is from all his hockey training, and how fun it’d be to cross lines with him. 

Confession #4: I kissed a hockey player and I liked it. 

Confession #5: If I’m not careful, I might relapse and fall for Ryder, and then I’ll be totally pucked.

Check out an exclusive excerpt below! 

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Guest Post

Good Lies by Charlotte West

If Warren Price was gasoline, I’d be a lit match.

Addison Wanks, rock ’n’ roll’s favorite daughter, is good at keeping secrets.

Secret One

She’s responsible for the long-standing feud between her father’s band, Wanks and Janks, and younger band Wild Minds. She may or may not have let Wild Minds’ sexy bad-boy lead singer Warren defile her backstage at a concert. Okay, she totally did.

Secret Two

She’s supposed to be attending college but instead skips town to follow Wild Minds on their European tour. Addy adores Warren Price.

Secret Three

Europe doesn’t go so well. Her sexy lead singer turned out to be king of a**holes. He’s arrogant, demanding and controlling. Addy loathes Warren Price. Oh, well.

Secret Four

Fast forward a few years and Addy is planning to attend her father’s farewell tour when she hears the news—Wild Minds is back in the good graces of Wanks and Janks. The two bands will be headlining together. This is going to make avoiding Warren difficult. Especially since it seems Warren doesn’t want to be ignored. He also doesn’t want a divorce. That’s right, Addy is married to the Wild Minds front man. Shh. Don’t tell.

What will happen when all Addy’s secrets are revealed?     

Check out an excerpt below! 

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Exclusive Excerpt

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Alone With You by Amanda Adams

Alone_With_You__The_Walker_Brothers_Book_2_by_Amanda_Adams Cover (1)
Ready for the second book in the WALKER BROTHER SERIES? 

Claire Miller fell in love with Jake in the third grade. One hot night of reckless passion changed things between them forever. Jake rocked her world, but Claire had plans for her life. Knowing she could never be what he needed, she let him go and has missed him every day since.

Jake Walker knew the first time he saw Claire, when he was nine years old, that he wanted to marry her. At seventeen, he let her go. But seven years later, the sight of her hit him like a punch to the gut. Every cell in his body demanded that she was ‘The One’. But can he convince Claire? 

Check out an exclusive excerpt below! 

Need to hide a dead body? He’d call Derek. Hell, they all would. Derek took care of their messes no matter how dirty the shit got. Jake had kept his nose pretty clean, but Mitchell and Chance had their share of wild days stealing cars, smoking dope, and generally acting like assholes when they were younger. If not for Derek, Jake figured the lot of them probably would have ended up in jail.

Derek turned around to watch their brother, Chance, laugh and slap the groom none of them knew on the back. “He’s so fucking happy I can’t stand to talk to him.”

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