Rachel’s last chance for love!

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In just a few weeks, One Last Chance, Rachel’s story will be released. Readers of the Oak Grove series met Rachel briefly in One Last Risk. And they were concerned. What was going on with her? Why was Lucas alarmed?

In One Last Dance, readers are give more of a glimpse into Rachel’s life, seen through the eyes of bystanders Joey and Brittany. Brittany is the one to recognize what no one was ready to admit – that Rachel was in an abusive relationship. Brittany provided insight and support to Joey as he struggled to find a way to help his sister.

Women in abusive relationships won’t leave until they are ready. And Rachel wasn’t ready. Not then.

Fast forward a couple of months and things have changed. Rachel’s situation with Shane has gotten worse, she rarely leaves the house anymore, and she doesn’t recognize the person she’s become.

One night, things got a whole lot worse and Rachel did the one thing she’d never done before – she called for help!

Enter Sawyer. He’d buried the feelings he had for Rachel growing up, struggling with his own nightmares brought up from his time in Afghanistan. She didn’t deserve the broken man he’d become. But he couldn’t ignore what was happening right in front of his eyes. He’d spent many a night punching the bag at the gym until his hands screamed out with the pain he felt seeing the woman he loved being hurt. But she wouldn’t listen to anyone.

Until one night when 9-1-1 rang out with the call he’d been waiting for.

Read the first chapter of One Last Chance below for a glimpse into what Rachel has been dealing with. And pre-order your copy of One Last Chance to be delivered onto your eReader on July 11th.

Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

Chapter One

“Shane, no—stop!” Rachel darted behind the smallish kitchen table, her eyes never leaving her boyfriend. At least the barrier would give her some protection against his rage. Very little, though. This wasn’t the first time he’d chased her around the table, stretching his grubby hands across the top to grab her. Sometimes she got away. Sometimes she didn’t.

A glazed look filled his bloodshot eyes. Good… maybe he’d pass out soon. Five, maybe ten minutes. She just had to hold out until then.

She rubbed her throbbing cheek, the sting from his hand still fresh.

Shane lurched across the table and wrapped his thick fingers around her wrist. Even though her skin throbbed, she tried to yank her arm away. He just squeezed harder, pain radiating up her arm. She pulled and struggled, but she couldn’t free her hand from his vice-like grip.

“You bitch. Where’s my goddamned beer?”

“I didn’t do anything, I swear. You drank the last one this afternoon.” Please believe me. She’d convinced him before that he’d just forgotten, but the times that she hadn’t, he’d blown up. Each time worse than the previous one.

He raised his fist, keeping her wrist clamped in the other. The harsh smack of his palm burned her cheek. Her hand flew to her face. The table rocked and Shane pitched forward, still holding her. She stumbled and struggled to wrench away from him. Tears welled in her eyes but she wouldn’t let them fall. Tears just pissed him off.

Where was loving Shane she’d met and started dating? When had he turned into this monster? And why did she stay with him?

She didn’t deserve any better—that was what she’d told herself when huddled under the blanket at night, feigning sleep so he wouldn’t reach for her. So she focused on trying to meet Shane’s definition of “good” and steer clear of him when he was in a mood.

But just being “good” wasn’t cutting it. Not anymore. She’d had enough. She deserved better, no matter what her mind tried to convince her. She had to get out before he killed her.

Her cell phone sat on the counter. If she could get over there, she could call one of her brothers or even 9-1-1. Only once before had she tried to call during one of Shane’s attacks. She hadn’t been able to reach Joey, and Shane had slapped the phone away before she could talk to someone at the bar. No one came. Not until the next day, after Shane had thrown her against the wall and sprained her wrist. What if no one came again? His attacks were getting worse.

His fiery gaze darted to her phone and his eyebrows rose. “No way, bitch. This is between us.”

Damn, he’d seen her. But she was determined to get to the phone. She darted around the table and dashed to the counter. Shane’s strong arms snaked around her waist. Almost there. She stretched for the phone. When her fingers brushed the cell, it went skidding to the floor. Shit. She lunged but couldn’t reach the one lifeline from a beating. Shane yanked her away, threw her against the couch, and followed her down. His fingers dug into her arms. His putrid breath turned her stomach, and she clenched her teeth so she wouldn’t vomit.

“Is this what you wanted?” He slammed his mouth down on hers. She clamped her lips shut. How could she ever have thought she loved this man? He kissed her again and she didn’t fight him. If she acted like she wanted to be with him, he’d release her and she could scramble to the phone. That was her only hope. Without moving her head, her eyes darted to where the phone had landed on the floor. Only a few steps away.

She let her body go limp and he released her. “That’s better. See? We’re good together, baby. Aren’t we?”

“Yeah.” She cleared her throat, putting more force into her words. “We are.”

He kissed her again and she squeezed her eyes shut. A little bit longer and she might have an opening.

“Come on.” Shane stood and stomped toward the bedroom.

Finally. She crept closer to the phone. With his back turned, he couldn’t see when she bent to retrieve her cell. And he also didn’t notice when she flipped it open. She pressed 9-1-1.

“What in the hell are you doing?” Shane roared and rushed to her in two huge strides.

As she pressed Send, Shane smacked the phone from her hand, and it clattered to the floor. Please let the call go through. She couldn’t take much more of this.

He shoved his hand into her hair and twisted his fingers in the stringy strands hanging lifelessly down her back. She shuddered.

This was the final straw. As soon as she got free of his grip, she was leaving. Please, someone, please come help me.

Shane yanked her head back and hung his face right over hers.

She clawed at his hands. “You’re hurting me!”

“Who’d you call?” Spit flew out of his mouth and splattered on her face.

She cringed. Swiping at her face just pissed him off even more than the tears. “Nobody. I swear. I wanted to check the time.”

“Who cares about the fucking time? You got somewhere to go?”

Fire swirled in his eyes, his square jaw clenched, and her stomach dropped. She had no hope of getting away from him now. The asshole was just getting warmed up.

With his hand still wrapped in her hair, he dragged her toward the bedroom. She yelped and he tugged harder. Tears rolled down her cheeks but she couldn’t hold them back any longer. She’d hidden her feelings for months. What Shane wanted always mattered more. He came first. That’s what he always said. But she did matter. She did count. Her tears proved there was still something worth saving buried deep inside her.

She was taking back her life. This would be the last time she would ever let him beat her, to force her to do what he wanted. She may not have his muscles, but she could fight back.

She dug her heels into the carpet and grabbed the edge of the counter. No way would she let him drag her into the bedroom. He could screw a hole in the wall for all she cared.

He released her hair. Thank God. But her relief was short-lived. He pinched her arm and pried at her fingers that gripped the counter. She couldn’t let him pull her away. She clung harder to the wood and braced her feet. Only a few more steps to the front door and she could dash into the yard. She’d have to keep running, though. The trailer sat a long way down a deserted dirt road. They didn’t have any neighbors close by. If she had to, she’d find a place in the woods to hide. Anything to wait Shane out. Eventually he’d pass out. He had to… it was her only hope.

Shane had burrowed himself into her life as he was burrowing into her fingers now. She didn’t have any friends left. Her family had given up on her. What she wouldn’t give for one of her brothers to come knocking on the door right about now. They’d tried to help her, repeatedly, but she hadn’t believed she needed them. Or anyone.

But Shane had never been this bad before. The wrath in his eyes made her heart lurch. For the first time, she questioned whether she could break free of him or whether she’d be alive tomorrow to tell someone about his attack.

With his jaw clenched, lips pursed, and brows furrowed, he stared a hole straight through her. Pure evil filled his eyes. Had his hatred always been there, hiding until he chose the right time to reveal his true self? After she was trapped with him, with nowhere to go?

Shane finally pried her fingers off the counter and she fell back. He towered over her, his hands on his hips, and spit on her. She swiped at her cheek, wobbled, and smacked against the hard floor, butt-first.

She brushed his revolting, beer-filled saliva off her face. Bile rose in her throat but she shoved it down. She refused to give him the satisfaction of knowing exactly how revolting she found him.

He always poked her, prodded her, figured out how to hurt her the most. He made her question her own actions time and again. On the floor, she was at his mercy. She couldn’t get her feet beneath her to stand. He usually didn’t actually grab her… just threatened to. That was how Shane operated. The mere threat of his wrath was usually enough to keep her in line.

But she’d had enough, and she would fight back. With her hands behind her and her feet beneath her, she scrambled backward like a crab. What would he do? He could try anything, but each crawl took her a bit closer to the door and freedom.

With each of her backward lurches, he took one step forward. One, then another, matching her movements toward the door. “You think you can get away from me, bitch? Think again.”

Together they inched closer to the door where the phone lay open and the lights on the keypad shone bright. Maybe she had connected the call to 9-1-1 after all. Help had better be coming, because she couldn’t keep holding Shane off. And if she couldn’t…

Somewhere in the distance, sirens wailed. Please let them be coming for me. Hopefully Shane hadn’t heard them yet. He wasn’t afraid of the deputies, and why should he be? He’d talked himself out of worse situations than this one. Had his Daddy get him out of the stickier jams. Of course, her unwillingness to speak up for herself helped his cause. Why had she refused the help that her brothers… and Sawyer, their friend… had offered her so many times?

She crept closer to the door. Only a few more steps and she’d reach freedom before he grabbed her.

The sirens grew louder. Thank God. With no one else in the area, they had to be coming for her. Shane lifted his head and scowled before he snapped back to her, fire in his eyes.

“You bitch.” He kicked her in the side. All the air in her lungs escaped, and she crumpled onto the floor. But only for a moment. Ignoring the pain, she rolled onto her stomach and scrambled toward the door. Her fingers clawed at the carpet, the stink-ridden fibers and layers of dirt getting under her nails.

Shane’s big arms gripped her around the waist. He pulled and she slid against the carpet.

“Shane, stop. Let me go.”

“No way. You’re mine. And you always will be.”

One Last Dance is live!!

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I’m so excited about the release of One Last Dance. Joey is always laughing, always joking, but as many know, laughter often hides the loneliness. So is the case with Joey. Enter Brittany… a big city girl who left her own small town in the dust when she turned eighteen. She has no interest in opening up old wounds by getting involved with a small-town guy. But the heart knows what the heart wants, and Brittany finds herself in deep with Joey!

I love how Joey and Brittany meet – I shared the inspiration a little while ago. When I first considered becoming an author, We Dance by Brad Paisley was stuck in my head and I wanted to know the story behind the couple that met because she left her purse behind after a night at the bar. Well, now you know.

Joey also has a very special place in my heart because he’s committed to veteran’s issues. I didn’t really plan it this way, but having One Last Dance release right after Memorial Day is really fitting. In One Last Dance, Joey introduces the town of Oak Grove to Honor Brewing Company when he dedicates a Tribute Tap to a friend who died defending our country. Well, Honor Brewing Company is a real company doing great things for veterans, active duty, and former military. So while the town of Oak Grove is tipping up a bottle of their favorite Honor Beer, you could be, too. Click over to their page to find out if a place near you serves Honor Beer and check out the great things this company is doing.

In honor (get it, Honor) of my book release, I’m hosting a giveaway. Click over to win an Honor T-shirt and a signed copy of One Last Dance! Click this link to enter

And, as always, One Last Dance is available on all retailers. So pick up a copy and read about Joey and Brittany and a bit about Honor Brewing Company. I hope you love it!!

➜ Amazon: http://amzn.to/2oi3lLP
➜ Paperback: http://amzn.to/2rKmjwW
➜ iBooks: http://smarturl.it/OneLastDance_iB
➜ Barnes and Noble: http://smarturl.it/OneLastDance_Nook
➜ Kobo: http://smarturl.it/OneLastDance_Kobo
➜ Google Play: http://smarturl.it/OneLastDance_GP

~ Nancy

Happy Mother’s Day

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For those in the US, yesterday was Mother’s Day. How do you define Mother’s Day, you ask? Well, for me, I’ve always joked that I’d like it to be the ONE day that I didn’t have to mother. And yes, mother is a verb as well as a noun. I mother every day of my life. I became a mother the day my oldest was born and I’ll be a mother until the day I die, no matter where my kids end up in life.

For many years, Mother’s Day was spent at the baseball field watching Michael play travel baseball. He’s moved beyond that stage of his baseball career (although I get to see him play against his rival team tonight, so yay!) My oldest just finished her sophomore year of college and will only be home about a month before she heads back down to do orientation. We’ll then see her for a few weeks in July before she’s back to school for early job training before next year starts. So, I took the opportunity yesterday to combine two things that I love: baseball and my kids. Samantha and I took in a Washington Nationals game last night! And it was a bonus night – Trea Turner bobblehead night – so Samantha was especially excited about that.

Are you a mother? How did you spend your Mother’s Day? Did you celebrate your mother?

One Last Dance – A bit of inspiration


This past week has been consumed with activities around the release of One Last Risk. Thanks to all of the readers who have purchased their copy. If you haven’t, make sure you click over and buy it now! The price goes up from the Release Week Special later this week.

In the meantime, my focus has shifted to the next book in the series, One Last Dance. The inspiration for this book actually niggled at me first, but it wasn’t the right book to kick off the series. But finally I’m ready to start sharing Joey and Brittany’s story.

The initial inspiration for Joey and Brittany meeting came from a Brad Paisley song. I love to listen to country music and this one just spoke to me – telling me there was a story there.

http://mp3t.win/music/we-danced-brad-paisley.html

Click here to listen to Brad’s soulful crooning as you read about Joey and Brittany’s story!

Blurb:

A sophisticated city girl, a small town guy. Will their differences drive them apart or will they they discover that home is where the heart is?

When the only girl Joey Bennett ever loved stole his heart and sped off to the city lights, he swore he’d never again surrender his heart or be measured by someone’s big city ideals. Love is for chumps. Trust is only given to family and locals who care about him for who he is, and what he isn’t. But when a beautiful stranger dances into his bar, he takes up the challenge to prove that his hometown is different.

Brittany Carlson hates small towns after growing up where the old boy’s network turned a blind eye to her father’s abuse, destroying her mother’s life… and her own. She left that hell in the rear-view mirror the minute she turned eighteen. New York City is her new hometown where her neighbors are friends and everyone looks out for each other. They keep her safe. But a weekend visit to Oak Grove and one dance with a sexy local threatens to change… everything.

Joey is not like any guy she’s ever met. And she likes that. Long nights stoke Joey and Brittany’s desire to stay together, but reality is different when exposed to the harsh light of day. If Brittany goes back to New York, she’ll be heartbroken. But she promised herself long ago that she wouldn’t ever again live her life looking over her shoulder, wondering what secrets people are hiding and what ugliness lurks in the shadows with no one there to help.

Can she take the small town out of Joey, or can the love of a good man become her new home?

One Last Dance is available for pre-order on all retail platforms.

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Google Play

Holding my print copy in my hands

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One Last Risk One Last Risk, book 1 in the Oak Grove series, releases in 1 week! There have been a flurry of activities leading up to the release, one being the formatting and proofing of the print edition. Isn’t it pretty!

There’s something about holding the results of more than 16 month of writing and working and reworking Lucas and Sarah’s story, just to get it perfect. To run my fingers over the words that I agonized putting on the page, to see my name as the author running along the top of the pages.

The early reviewers have all been responding so positively – their feedback is heartwarming. I especially love this review from Teresa on Goodreads that started out: “How do you begin a review on a book that had you laughing, crying, cheering, wondering, and droves of other emotions?” 

And Ann-Maree on Goodreads says: Your heart will break, will laugh, will cry and will love with these characters while you read this wonderful story that Nancy Stopper as written.”

I’m thrilled that the readers are reacting to Sarah and Lucas’s story exactly as I had hoped.

One Last Risk releases on April 18th. It’s currently on pre-order at the special price of $2.99. That pre-order / release week price won’t last forever, so if you want to save a little money, pick it up now from your favorite retailer:

Amazon Kindle ebook: http://smarturl.it/OneLastRisk_AMZ
Amazon print: http://amzn.to/2puIV2g
Barnes and Noble: http://smarturl.it/OneLastRisk_Nook
iBooks: http://smarturl.it/OneLastRisk_iB
Kobo: http://smarturl.it/OneLastRisk_Kobo
Google Play: http://smarturl.it/OneLastRisk_GP

A bullet journal, or my version of it

I’ve needed something for a while to organize all the little tasks that are required for running your own publishing business. And as a self-published author, that’s what I’m doing.

So, I adopted my own form of the bullet journal at the beginning of the year. Nothing fancy, no colors, just a chart of tasks to do, events on the calendar and things that come in. Here’s a page where I was tracking all of that – day by day.

There were a couple of problems with this. Some days I had more big items and others I had a bunch of little. So sometimes I was running out of room. Then, I have several projects going on at a time (the prefixes of OLR, OLD, OLC, OLO, LC, KR – those are my categories of projects) and the tasks for each were haphazardly listed as I did them throughout the day.

So, I took some motivation from a fellow author (who has awesome bullet journals with bright colors and pictures and stickers – I aspire to be her someday), and I started organizing by tasks. So this past week, I used the left page for the first 3 days, and the right page for the remaining four, and I grouped the tasks by project. I put any calendar entries under “Miscellaneous” as a category. Here’s the result:

The problem with this is I had some tasks for each project on both sides of the page. And my calendar entries were kinda all over the place. And some of my project tasks NEEDED to be done on a certain date instead of just sometime during the time period. And my linearly-organized brain was having trouble with this.

So, I’m taking a new tact this coming week. Blocks for each project FOR THE ENTIRE WEEK down the left side, then space for each DATE on the right hand side. I’ve already plugged in my calendar events for the week and the major things I need to do for my projects. More things will obviously be added throughout the week, and I will “summarize” what I do for each project on the date blocks on the right. I need to show project on my writing or revisions and that’s what I think may work. So, here’s what my framework for the upcoming week looks like:

The check boxes are for when I need to track incremental progress toward a major project. I have two project with incremental goals this week, both revisions. But I will usually have one revision and one writing project a week, where I’ll track daily words for the writing project, and revised pages for the edits.

I’ll check back at the end of the week and see how I did.

I also do a monthly “goals check-in” at the end of each month, and I also set my goals for the following month. All of my goals track back to my annual goals which are listed at the beginning of my journal. It’s the end of the quarter this weekend, so I’ll also do an incremental check-in on my annual goals to see if I’ve made sufficient progress to-date towards them.

I may be tweaking my approach, but I am definitely liking the roadmap that my bullet journal is giving me.

Who doesn’t love FREE books!

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I love free books! And it’s not just because I can read more for less, but because it’s a great way to find some new authors. Many of the authors on my “always buy” list, I found because I gave them a try with a free book!

Sixteen contemporary romance and romantic suspense authors have teamed up to offer you free books! Click the link to check them all out – but don’t wait long, the giveaway ends March 30th!!

Jump Into Love Romance Giveaway

Make sure you check out Last Call as part of this giveaway. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, now’s the time because One Last Risk releases is less than a month. Click over to my website to read an exclusive excerpt from One Last Risk and pre-order your copy.

One Last Risk

Happy Reading!!

Sneak Peak of One Last Risk

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We’re about a month away from the release of One Last Risk. I’ve been building to this release for about a year when I finished the first draft of Lucas and Sarah’s story. The final product isn’t a lot like the first draft that I wrote, but I love their story and I hope you will, too.

Just to tease you a bit, I’ve posted the first three chapters of One Last Risk on my web site. Click over and read how Lucas and Sarah meet and how their story almost doesn’t even get off the ground!

excerpt – One Last Risk

Last Call available on all sites!

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okmhypgmAfter a lot of wrangling with various ebook retail sites, Last Call is finally available everywhere for just 99¢.

Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play

BUT … Why would you pay 99¢ when you can get it for absolutely FREE!! Just by signing up for my mailing list, you can get your copy of Last Call FREE! And by being a member of my mailing list, you’ll be the first to hear when I have a new release, or a special I think you’d like.

So, click here to sign up for my newsletter and get your free copy of Last Call!

Blurb:

He’s hiding inner demons that drove him away from town. She’s sworn off bad boys. Their passion erupts while trapped in a snow storm, but will she ever see him again?

Dr. John “Butch” Daniels climbed on his bike and sped out of Oak Grove several months ago with demons on his tail. He’s ready to come home and pick back up where his life left off, but have the demons left him behind? A blizzard has him stuck in what used to be his favorite motorcycle club, and the sweet and spunky bartender is getting under his leather-clad skin.

Carla Daniels is a loner, not able to hold on to the ones she loves. She’s sworn off bad-boys after a recent ex dumped her in Oak Grove. The owner of motorcycle club turned bar and grill offers her a lifeline in the form of a job and place to live. Her life is turning around. But there’s something about the bearded stranger who turns up late one night while a snowstorm rages outside.

When passion flares, the two are forced to confront their darkest fears: Does Carla dare to trust a reckless biker with her heart? Can Butch risk caring for someone when life has no guarantees? This might be their Last Call for love.