Breaking His Rules ~ Another Excerpt and a Giveaway

With release day quickly approaching (can you believe summer’s almost over?) it seemed like the perfect time to share another excerpt from Breaking His Rules and, of course, do another giveaway!


It was after ten when Jake pulled up to the curb in front of her townhouse. The porch light was on and bathed the small garden and walkway near the front door in a warm golden glow. Inside, the house was dark. Paige was either upstairs in her bedroom at the back of the unit, or she’d decided to spend the night with Rob.

“You talked to Gentry, didn’t you?” Melissa asked the question that had been on her mind ever since she’d seen Trey head toward the men’s room not long after Jake had done the same thing.

“We had a brief discussion.” Jake’s fingers tightened on the steering wheel. “I didn’t lay a hand on him. If that’s what you’re worried about.”

“The only reason I’d worry is because I wouldn’t want you to get into any trouble because of me. Him, I couldn’t care less about.”

“My father taught us to respect women. What Gentry said to you was out of line. I took it upon myself to call him out on his behavior.”

“I guess he thought I’d be flattered that he found me attractive.”

“His success has gone to his head. He’s got women panting after him all the time and he takes advantage of that situation on a daily basis, according to J.T.”

“Well, he picked the wrong woman tonight. I wish I would have had the nerve to deck him. Paige would have done it in a heartbeat.” She sighed. “Paige thinks I need to stand up for myself more. She says I always turn the other cheek and let people like Shauna and Denise get away with insulting me.”

“Is that true?”

“Yes,” Melissa admitted, with a tentative nod. “I was always heavier than all the other kids. When they made fun of me it was easier to pretend it didn’t matter instead of confronting them.”

“But it did matter, didn’t it?”

“It hurt.” Her heart clenched at the thought of those painful times. “A lot. Luckily, I had Paige. I don’t think I would have gotten through school if she wasn’t there with me. She fought my battles for me. No one would dare say a word to me when she was nearby.”

“You’ve never struck me as the kind of person who wouldn’t stick up for herself.”

“That’s because you don’t really know me.”

“I think I do.” Jake reached up to brush a lock of hair from her cheek, and then quickly lowered his hand. “That strength you think you don’t have is there. Inside you. One day you’ll figure that out.”

Breaking His Rules will be released on Monday, September 8, 2014 and is available for pre-order now at the following e-book retailers:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | KOBO | iBooks | iTunes | Carina Press

And now for the giveaway! Just leave a comment on this blog post and win an e-book copy of one of my books: Love in the Afternoon, The Winning Season, A Christmas for Carrie or Catching Heat OR you can choose a print copy of either Love in the Afternoon or The Winning Season. The contest is open internationally and will close on Friday, August 29, 2014 at 9 pm PST. Good luck!

Feeling the Heat aka My Series Finally Has a Name!

Happy DanceWhen I wrote my first book, Love in the Afternoon, I wasn’t planning too far ahead. But then a funny thing happened. I liked my secondary characters, Matt and Kelly, so much that I had to write about them in The Winning Season, and then I liked the secondary characters so much in that book that I had to write a book about them too. And so now I have a series! Very cool, right? Yes, but not so cool if you can’t come up with a series name.

A series name is crucial these days when so many authors write books with characters that are connected in one way or another. It lets readers know that a) you have a series and, b) what order to read your books in if they aren’t familiar with them already.

The biggest problem I had when I tried to come up with a series name was that I’d started the series with a book set in Hollywood (with two soap opera actors) and then moved it up to San Francisco, where my hero plays for the fictional MLB baseball team, the San Francisco Blaze. My upcoming release, Catching Heat, also features a player from the Blaze, and my holiday novella released last month (A Christmas for Carrie) is connected to the series as well.

For months I racked my brain trying to come up with something—anything—that would tie all the books together, and after a few truly cheesy ideas (Hearts Ablaze, Hearts on Fire), I finally came up with one that I thought could incorporate all the books in this little universe I’ve created. So I sent my latest idea to my editor, Angela James, at Carina Press and, lo and behold, she liked it and shared it with the team. And they liked it too! So now when someone asks me what my series name is I can finally tell them!

It’s Feeling the Heat.

PS: That little stick figure doing the happy dance at the top of this post is how I would look if I had a picture of me doing it…only skinnier.

Post-Release Thoughts and Giveaway Info

Christmas for Carrie FinalFor the third time in a row, I’ve worked on release day. When will I learn? It’s hard to participate in release day activities when my employer expects me to like…you know…do my job. LOL. Next time, I’m taking the day off so I can enjoy release day and have fun!

That said, I’ve enjoyed banding together with my fellow anthology authors for this release. It was hectic, but I couldn’t have asked for better people to work with. And all their novellas are wonderful, just like them!

There are a couple of giveaways still going on for either A Christmas for Carrie, or the Contemporary Christmas anthologies, For My Own and All I’m Asking For, as well as gift cards and an e-reader.

Dear Author Giveaway: You can win a Nook or a Kindle as well as e-books. Giveaway ends Sunday, 12/8/13.  Details here.

Give Me Books Christmas Novella Giveaway: This giveaway features a gift card and e-books.  Giveaway ends on 12/15/13. Details here.

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season so far. As I write this, most of the country is in deep freeze. Keep warm and safe out there!


A Christmas for Carrie – A Pre-Release Day Excerpt

Christmas for Carrie Final (2) (506x800)

Christmas is almost here and so is the release of A Christmas for Carrie, my first (and hopefully not last) holiday novella. In honor of the occasion, I thought it would be nice to give you an excerpt. This is the first scene from the first chapter.


The moment Carrie Jones stepped inside her favorite coffeehouse, the welcoming aroma of rich coffee beans enveloped her. It was Saturday, but unlike most Saturday mornings she wasn’t sleeping in. No, like the loyal employee she was she’d volunteered to help one of the associates prepare for an upcoming trial. So that meant caffeine. Lots and lots of caffeine.

Stepping up to the counter, she smiled at the young woman behind the cash register, ordered her usual dark roast blend and tried to ignore the Christmas music playing on the stereo system.

The current selection was the Pretenders’ version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” As an ‘80s music aficionado, Carrie adored the Pretenders, but her love for the band didn’t lessen the sudden tightness in her chest, or the urge to cover her ears to drown out the music. With a clenched jaw, she stared at the barista’s back as she poured coffee into a large to-go cup, and as the seconds stretched into what seemed like an eternity, Carrie silently prayed for the stereo system to either short-circuit or blow up. Unfortunately, the prayer didn’t work and the memories she was able to suppress the other eleven months of the year threatened to breach her defenses and run amok inside her head.

Get ahold of yourself, Carrie. With a shaky hand, she pulled a ten-dollar bill from the side pocket of her purse and laid it on the counter.

“Keep the change,” she said as the barista turned to hand her the cup. The young woman’s thank-you barely registered as Carrie grabbed the cup and dashed toward the exit.

Once outside, she breathed a sigh of relief and at the same time hated that something as innocuous as Christmas music had the power to evoke such powerful emotions inside of her.

Worse, Christmas was still three weeks away. Add in the week after Christmas and that meant an entire month of having to put on a cheerful face when all she wanted to do was curl up into a ball and forget the holidays altogether.

A gust of frigid air stung her cheeks and reminded her she was short on time. Galvanized into action, she headed for her car as a white SUV pulled into the almost empty parking lot and easily found a spot. Anxious to warm up, Carrie opened the door of her Toyota and slung her purse onto the passenger seat. Bending over, she reached inside and placed her coffee cup into the center-console cup holder.

“Jones? Is that you?”

Startled by the deep voice, she jerked upright and banged her head on the door frame. “Owww,” she muttered as she backed up and rubbed her head. Straightening, she turned and as she lifted her gaze to the man standing by her car, her heart stopped. Not literally, of course. But it seemed to stop and then, just as quickly, started beating again—correction—it pounded like a jackhammer on steroids. No surprise there. That had always been her heart’s standard response anytime she was within ten feet of Nick Johnson. One might think that would have changed after fourteen years but, nope, Nick still had the power to make her go weak in the knees.

“Nick?” She let her gaze roam over his face and quickly took in the changes. He’d been eighteen the last time she’d seen him and by the looks of things, the years had been kind. Very kind. Gone were the glasses and the braces, but his intelligent brown eyes still shimmered with good humor, and his killer smile was just as deadly. His dark hair was shorter than she remembered, but long enough so that it had that tousled just-got-out-of-bed look that, frankly, was sexier than hell.

“I thought that was you.” His gaze slid casually down her body before rising to meet hers. “I wondered if you were still in Grass Valley.”

Lifting her hands to adjust the knit cap she wore, Carrie smiled. “I’m still here.” She slipped her hands into her jacket pockets and pulled out her gloves. “What brings you home?” she asked as she slipped them on.

“Christmas.” The corners of his eyes crinkled as he returned her smile. “My parents usually make the trip to San Francisco to spend the holidays with me but this year we decided to change it up.” Nick glanced at his watch. “Seven-thirty might be a little too early to wake them, so I decided to stop for some coffee.” He searched her face and made her all too aware that she’d forgone makeup this morning. No doubt she looked like she’d just dragged her ass out of bed. Which she had and, sadly, it wasn’t her best look. “I’m glad I did, otherwise I wouldn’t have run into my favorite study buddy from high school.”

Study buddy. Much to Carrie’s teenage disappointment, that’s all they’d been. Buddies. Nick had never once noticed she was a girl. All she’d been was his math tutor, and the person he’d confided in about the great love of his young life—Alicia Walsh, the mean girl who’d never looked twice at Nick, and who, along with her popular friends, ruled their high school with a ruthlessness that often struck terror into the hearts of students who weren’t quite as good-looking or athletically inclined.

“You’re in town for Christmas?” Carrie asked, surprised. “It’s still three weeks away.”

“I know. But I can work from just about anywhere. All I need is a phone and my laptop.” He shifted to shove his hands into his pockets. The move drew her attention to his faded jeans. He’d been gangly in high school and although still lean, it was obvious he’d filled out—his thighs looked like they were made of solid muscle.

“There was a story about you in the Union last year,” she said, remembering the glowing article in Grass Valley’s local newspaper. And that explained the muscular thighs—the article had mentioned he’d taken up cycling several years ago. “You finally made it in the sports world.”

“Yep.” He cocked his head and gave her a wry grin. “Just not as a player like I’d always dreamed.” He shrugged. “It turned out for the best, I love what I do.”

“That’s great—” She broke off as the musical ringtone of her cell phone started to play. She glanced inside her car as the music stopped and the call went to voicemail. “That’s probably my coworker. I’m working today and running a bit late.”

“I’ll let you go, then. Hey, since I’m going to be in town for a while, we should catch up.” He pulled his phone from his jacket pocket. “Can I give you a call? Maybe we can grab some dinner.”

Her pulse sped up. “I’d like that,” she said and gave him her number. He entered it into his phone and then slid it back into his pocket.

“I’ll call you,” he said, then after giving her another one of those killer smiles that used to make her melt, he turned and headed for the entrance of the café. Carrie watched him until he disappeared inside and then slid into her car.

As she pulled out of the parking lot, she tried not to read too much into Nick’s parting words. Still, the thought of renewing their acquaintance lightened her mood and gave her something to look forward to. Suddenly, the month of December looked a heck of a lot brighter.

Available December 5th:

pre-order at: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Carina Press | Kobo | All Romance

iBooks | Amazon UK

Text Copyright © 2013 by Alison Packard
Cover Art Copyright © 2013 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved. ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.

For My Own ~ A Contemporary Christmas Anthology

For My Own real final

What’s better than one Christmas story? Well, three, of course!  As many of you may already know, my upcoming release is a Christmas novella, and although it can be purchased separately, you can also purchase the anthology and get three great holiday stories instead of one.  And if you’re really looking for a deal, then check back soon. A giveaway is coming!

Kissing Her Scrooge by Kinley Cade

CARINA_1213_9781426897559_kissingHerScroogeEvery Christmas, Hannah Jones makes it her mission to give her hometown the perfect pageant. Even malfunctioning inflatable Santas and lost students can’t stop the self-proclaimed Miss Holiday. But the teacher may have met her mismatch in sexy but antisocial tree farmer Griff Green. Hannah’s been lusting after her new neighbor for months—and she’s determined to melt his heart by being naughty as well as nice…

He may sell trees, but Griff doesn’t do Christmas. He’s known as the town humbug—and he likes it that way. Which is why he’s been avoiding Hannah, despite the sexy visions of her that have been dancing through his head. When a surprise visit leads to a passionate kiss, he can’t deny the attraction any longer.

When Hannah discovers Griff isn’t the Scrooge he pretends to be—and she exposes his secret to the whole town—it may take a holiday miracle for their budding relationship to survive into the new year.

Christmas Curveball by Shari Mikels

CARINA_1213_9781426897566_ChristmasCurveballWhen newly single Rachel Tanner finds out that pro pitcher Kevin Ganlin has come home to recover from an injury, her heart skips a beat. She’s loved him from afar since her preteen years, never bold enough to let him know.

Kevin is less than thrilled when Rachel shows up at his doorstep. She’s his best friend’s little sister and officially off-limits. Besides, he’s staring early retirement in the face, a one-man pity-party with no interest in anything more serious than quick flings on the road. Until an icy mishap lands Rachel cozied up on his sofa, irresistible in his practice sweats.

A little game of Truth or Truth reveals much more than Rachel had ever dared to hope and leads to a midnight make-out session that leaves them both panting. But can she trust that he’s truly changed his ways? This Christmas, Kevin will do whatever it takes to make Rachel understand she’s the only one for him.

A Christmas for Carrie by Alison Packard

Christmas for Carrie FinalThe very thought of Christmas is enough to darken Carrie Jones’s day. “Jingle Bells” and eggnog? Not for this girl; not anymore. But running into a handsome old crush might make this year different…

Home to celebrate with his parents, Nick Johnson loves the holidays and all that comes with them, from trips to the tree lot to the very last strand of tinsel. Stunned to bump into Carrie while on a coffee run, he realizes that his former study buddy has grown into a drop-dead-gorgeous woman. One with whom he’d like to share all the joys—and hidden pleasures—of the season.

Spending time with Nick and his warm, close-knit family, Carrie can’t help but feel the very beginnings of that elusive Christmas spirit. She’s falling in love with all of them…until an unexpected visitor arrives. It will take putting her trust in Nick—and all her newfound happiness—to overcome the ghosts of Christmases past.

Available for pre-order: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Carina Press | All Romance | Kobo | iBooks | Audible