Book Recommendation – After the Rain by Brandy Bruce

Book Description:

Debra Hart is moving on. Maybe. Hopefully. One day.

As a radio show host, Debra spends her mornings as Miss Lonely Heart on air, empathizing with all the broken hearts in the Denver metro area. She spends her evenings watching old musicals and trying not to think about the guy who broke up with her and subsequently fell in love with one of her best friends. Alone in a new city, Debra questions where she belongs and who she is now.

When she stumbles into the indie music scene, Debra meets singer Ben Price. Rock star appeal, with a day job as a worship pastor, Ben is everything Debra wants to avoid. But he’s determined to be her friend, and it so happens she could really use one. Because try as she might, nothing seems to erase the anger and betrayal she feels.

It’s time for a new dream. But how does she start over when she doesn’t even know what she wants anymore?

Narelle’s Thoughts:

After the Rain is Brandy Bruce’s highly anticipated sequel to The Last Summer. A brilliant standalone novel that will tug on your heart strings and inspire you to cheer for Debra.

I do recommend reading The Last Summer first. The opening scene in After the Rain will hit you harder with more emotional impact if you’ve experienced what happened to Debra Hart in The Last Summer. From the opening line in After the Rain, you’ll immediately empathise with Debra and her situation.

After the Rain is Debra’s story, written in first person point of view. Life is unfair and Debra has learned this universal truth the hard way. She has left Texas behind and moved to Denver to start a new life. She was devastated by her recent breakup with her boyfriend, Luke. He dumped Debra and started dating Sara, her now ex-best friend. Luke and Sara’s betrayal cut deep, and Debra has a new wariness around people. She fears being hurt and rejected.

The difficult breakup precipitated a faith crisis in Debra’s life. She’s determined to protect her bruised and lonely heart from a God who she believes has abandoned her. Debra has walked away from God and the church. Her previous love for music and singing worship songs is dead. She’s not hearing the music anymore.

Debra is lonely and she misses hanging out with her perfect circle of close friends in Houston. She resents being the one who had to leave. Luke and Sara have won, and she’s left on her own to pick up the pieces.

Debra co-hosts a morning radio show in Denver, and her bitterness over the breakup leads her to create the radio persona ‘Miss Lonely Heart’. Debra takes calls from listeners with her co-host, Andy, and she dishes out relationship advice.

Paige is Debra’s one and only friend in Denver. At the start of the story, Paige convinces Debra to go out with her and her friends to see a local band.

Ben Price is the lead singer of the band and the worship pastor at Paige’s church. He was born to be a rock star. Debra is captivated by Ben’s performance on stage and she’s drawn to him, despite all of her emotional baggage. His incredible voice reaches out to Debra, touching that vulnerable place deep inside.

Ben has secrets of his own. We experience Debra’s intense emotional highs and lows as Ben challenges her to take risks and tear down the fortress around her heart.

A fun and compelling romance develops between Debra and Ben in the gorgeous Colorado mountain setting. Their relationship inspires both of them to question their priorities and chase their dreams. We journey with Debra on her roller coaster ride to overcoming her fears and opening her heart to faith and love and new adventures.

I loved reading After the Rain. I read it quickly because I had to keep turning the page to see what would happen next. I highly recommend After the Rain to readers who are looking for a fun and engaging romance with deep emotional layers that will challenge them to consider the big questions in life.

Many thanks to Brandy Bruce for providing an advanced reader copy.

After the Rain releases on February 4, 2019, and is available at Amazon Kindle.

Friday Weekend Escape to the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, USA with Davalynn Spencer

Today we’re escaping for the weekend to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, USA, with my author friend Davalynn Spencer. Davalynn is giving us a tour of the high-country ranchland in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and sharing her love of cowboy country. Enjoy!

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Cowboy Country

As an author of historical western romance, one of my favorite places is the high-country ranchland of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. It is in just such a setting that I chose to place the second in my 3-book series, Branding the Wrangler’s Heart.

When my husband and I came upon this little valley one summer day, I wanted to send down roots and stay right there forever. The low slopes surrounding the grazing land are covered with scrub oak, piñon, and juniper trees.

1 Homestead

The log cabin has been refurbished with all the comforts of a modern home, including indoor plumbing. Originally, a hand pump in the yard and a privy beyond the fence met the needs of ranchers and cowboys. One thing that remains the same is the presence of rattle snakes in the tall grass. Wanderers beware!

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If these old cedar-post corrals could talk, what a tale we might have heard of busting broncs and branding calves. I could almost pick up the hoots and hollers of a rousing family roundup.

This old wagon bore witness to a simpler way of life. Harder, yes, but simpler. Sometimes I think I would welcome the change.

4 Wagon

Clusters of bright Indian paintbrush edged the road on our way back to the city. I didn’t want to leave, but my next book beckoned. So many stories remain to be told of these beautiful, secluded mountain valleys and the lives that once flourished in them.

5 Indian paintbrush

Thanks for coming along with me on this day-trip through cowboy country. I may not get to live there, but it’s satisfying to know that my characters do.

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Wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters, DAVALYNN SPENCER began her writing journey in the national rodeo market, winning awards in the process. Today she writes inspirational western romance – both historical and contemporary – and teaches writing at Pueblo Community College. She and her handsome cowboy have three children and four grandchildren and make their home on Colorado’s Front Range with a Queensland heeler named Blue. Connect with her online at www.davalynnspencer.com, www.Facebook.com/AuthorDavalynnSpencer and on Twitter @davalynnspencer.

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Whitaker Hutton always gets his way, and when cattle go missing from the Bar-HB Ranch, the tenacious foreman will stop at nothing to find them. But his boss’s granddaughter, Livvy, is more than Whit bargained for. Once the victim of Whit’s childhood pranks, Livvy has grown into a feisty beauty.

Olivia Hartman can’t forget the way Whit used to tease her. Even worse, he doesn’t think she’s capable of helping in the roundup. She could stay mad at him forever—if he wouldn’t act all sweet toward her. But when he literally rides to her rescue, Livvy starts to wonder whether her old enemy might turn out to be much more than just a friend.

Read a free sample of Branding the Wrangler’s Heart here.

 

Friday Weekend Escape to Colorado, USA with Brandy Bruce

Today we’re escaping for the weekend to Colorado, USA, with my author friend Brandy Bruce. Brandy’s giving us a tour of her home state of Colorado and sharing her love of romance set in the Rocky Mountains. Enjoy!

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Romance in the Mountains

After growing up in Texas and then going to college in Virginia, work brought my husband and me to Colorado, which is where I promptly fell in love with the mountains. There’s nothing quite like the majestic snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains or the deep red rocks of Garden of the Gods. Below is a picture of my husband and me at the Garden of the Gods when I was pregnant with my son! It’s a tourist hot spot so we go there nearly every time we have friends or family come visit us.

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Colorado is such a beautiful place that I decided to make it the setting for my three-book series with Heartsong Presents. Books one and two take place in Denver, the mile high city. My heroine rides the train from Union Station to her office in the tech center. Downtown Denver is such a fun and vibrant place. (By the way, this photo was taken downtown on my tenth wedding anniversary! I donned my wedding dress and we did an anniversary photo shoot. So much fun!)

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Book three takes place in Estes Park, Colorado, a little town up in the mountains right by Rocky Mountain National Park. I absolutely love Estes Park. My hero in that novel is a chef who likes to fly-fish in his spare time. The rivers here in Colorado are wonderful for fly-fishing (or so my husband tells me! He loves to fly-fish). The picture below was taken of my sister and me near Estes Park at Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s a gorgeous place for hiking or camping.

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In book two of my series (which releases this July!) one of the main characters purchases a café. I was inspired by the cafés in Manitou Springs, Colorado. From Manitou Springs, you can take a train ride up to Pikes Peak. There are gift shops and restaurants and an old outdoor arcade for kids in Manitou; it’s a super fun place right by Colorado Springs. Speaking of the springs, I love Colorado Springs because there’s so much to do! From the building where I work, you have an incredible view of the mountains, including Pikes Peak. Below is a picture I took on my way into the office. It was a dark, stormy day and I love the look of a storm brewing over the mountains.

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There’s something soothing and peaceful to me about looking out and seeing the beauty of the mountains. I so enjoy living in Colorado with my family. And there’s plenty of inspiration for romance! A night out in downtown Denver—perhaps dinner on Sixteenth Street and then catching a play in the theater district. A hike up to a river and a picnic for two, with the sound of water rushing and wind blowing through the Aspen trees. The stars looks endless when you’re in a small mountain town. Ideal settings for a Heartsong Presents novel!

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BRANDY BRUCE holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Liberty University. She’s worked as a book editor for more than eight years. Looks Like Love is her first novel. Brandy makes her home in Colorado with her husband and two children. When she’s not editing manuscripts or writing, she’s usually reading–anything from books about vampires to quiet Amish life. She also loves watching movies, talking on the phone with her sisters, blogging, or baking any kind of cheesecake.

Visit her website at http://brandybruce.blogspot.com

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ISABELLA ROMANO HAS GIVEN UP ON LOVE

Between her demanding work as a nurse and her father’s poor health, Isabella has no time for distractions. So when a handsome firefighter practically falls at her feet, she keeps him at arm’s length. But Ethan Carter is determined to win her over.

Orphaned at a young age, Ethan longs for a family of his own—and he’s sure Isabella is his match. But when he opens a café near his firehouse, Isabella is less than thrilled. She knows firsthand the strain of being a restaurant owner, and she wants no part of that life. Can Ethan convince the busy nurse they can overcome any obstacle and have their happily ever after together?