Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Bad Boy of Butterfly Harbor by Anna J. Stewart - Book Tour

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

The Bad Boy of Butterfly HarborThe Bad Boy of Butterfly Harbor
(Butterfly Harbor #1)

by Anna J. Stewart

Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 368 pages

1st 2015 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Can people truly change?

Two things keep Holly Campbell grounded: her precocious son and preserving her forty-year-old family diner in the face of expansion and change. She doesn't need a blast from the past like Luke Saxon, who's back in Butterfly Harbor after more than a decade away. The hard-luck kid who nearly destroyed her family, leaving her to pick up the pieces, is taking over as sheriff. She can't trust him, even if Luke's ideas for the town's upcoming anniversary seem to show he's trying to give back to their community. Has Butterfly Harbor found its unlikely savior? And has the widowed single mother finally found a man she can believe in, rely on…and love?

USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J. Stewart can't remember a time she didn't have a book in her hands or a story in her head. Early obsessions with Star Wars, Star Trek and Wonder Woman set her on the path to creating fun, funny, and family centric romances with happily ever afters for the independent heroines she writes for both Harlequin and Berkley. Anna lives in Northern California where she deals with a serious Supernatural & Sherlock addiction, surrounds herself with friends and family and tolerates an overly affectionate cat named Snickers (or perhaps it's Snickers who tolerates her).

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Excerpt #5

“MAYBE I SHOULD have listed Holly under the hazard-pay clause of your contract.” The lines around Gil’s eyes appeared as he squinted against the early-afternoon sun. “She was borderline rude.”

“Rude would have been dumping this shake in my lap,” Luke said, uncertain how he should feel about the gesture.

“Holly’s defending her father, Gil.” Luke stopped beside the dinged-up red pickup he’d bought from a police impound-lot auction last year. “I’m not going to fault her for it.” All these years, he couldn’t comprehend defending his own.

The bag Holly had pushed on him continued to steam as his other hand froze around the milk shake he had yet to let go of.

How much teenage time had he spent in the diner gorging on chili-cheese fries and downing mocha shakes to avoid going home because doing so usually meant his father would be passed out by the time he walked through the door? Those last couple of years before he’d left he’d done just about anything he could think of to avoid his father and the rage. At least in Sheriff Gordon’s holding cell he’d been safe.

His mouth quirked. Holly never would have supplied him with dinner if she knew doing so reminded him of one of the few good memories from his childhood. “Bonus for me. I don’t have to worry about cooking tonight.”

“Must take a lot to tick you off.” Gil gave him a quick salute. “Good thing, given your new job. Oh, hey, I had Emery do some upkeep for your folks’ house. Nothing major. Mowed the lawn, sheared the shrubs, boarded up a few windowpanes to keep the chill out. The place isn’t in great shape—”

“Thanks, Gil.” Luke’s stomach gripped his still digesting lunch. And here he thought facing Holly or her father would be the hardest part of his return. Going back to the house he’d sworn never to step foot in again... “I’ll catch up with you next week to talk about the department budget.” By then he should have his bearings.

Luke opened the door and leaned in to stow the fries and shake in the cab, and when he stood, he found the boy from the diner right behind him, accusing eyes scrunched, arms crossed over the emblem of his Proton Patrol T-shirt. Even if Luke hadn’t known the boy’s father growing up, there was no mistaking Grayson Campbell’s son. Gray and Holly had been tied at the hip from the time she was sixteen. She, the knockout golden child of the town sheriff, and Gray, the drama-club president and star pitcher of the baseball team. As far as Luke was concerned, he couldn’t relate.

“You’re the man taking my grandpa’s job.” The accusation cut Luke to the quick, but he had to give the kid credit for confronting him. Few adults would have the nerve to do the same.

“I suppose I am.” Luke braced his arm on the door, giving the boy a chance to purge his grievance.

“But it’s his job. Not yours.”

Luke resisted the urge to squirm. “Does your mom know you’re out here...?”

“Simon.” Simon’s chin went up, his fists tightened. “Simon Grayson Campbell. And you’re Luke Saxon. I’ve heard about you.”

“I’m sure you have.” Luke could only imagine what the little man had heard. “I went to school with your parents. Did you know that?”

“Maybe.” Simon’s eyes reflected surprise and suspicion before grief flashed like a struck match. “My dad died.”

“I know. I’m sorry.”

“Were you friends?” Even with the hostile stare, Luke saw hope searching for a way out.

“Everyone liked your dad.” Because Gray had treated everyone equally. Even the son of the town drunk. But no, they hadn’t been friends. Luke hadn’t had friends. “He was a good guy.”

Some of Simon’s suspicion faded. “I don’t like my grandpa to be unhappy. Mom says losing his job’s made him unhappy.”

“I’m sorry for that.” But he’d given his word to Jake and Gil. The diner door banged open. “I think your mom is looking for you.”

“Simon!” Holly blasted out the door, making her son jump and Luke wince. He knew what it was like to be on the other side of that tone, but at least he didn’t have to worry about this boy’s safety. “Come inside right now.”

“But he knew Dad.” Simon looked at his mom and then did as he was told.

“Hurry. Inside, now.” She pushed him in the door before she faced Luke. “It’d be best if you stayed away from him. From all of us.”

Chills of irritation pricked his spine as his jaw tightened. Did she think he was going to get in his car and run the kid down? “He followed me, Holly.”

“That might be, but next time—”

“Keep a better eye on your son and there won’t be a next time.” When she flinched, he let out a breath and counted to ten. Anger wasn’t going to get either of them anywhere—and he’d rather die than venture into the dark place anger would take him. “I apologize. That was uncalled-for. I was sorry to hear about Gray.”

“Thank you.” She tucked her hair behind her ear and seemed to debate what to say next. She crossed her arms over her chest. When she spoke, he heard the resignation in her tight voice. “You’re really staying?”

“I really am. Better get used to it. Otherwise it’s going to be a very long year for all of us.”