The One You Want is here!

The newest Lilac Bay book is available now! The One You Want is the fifth book in the Lilac Bay series but it can be read as a stand alone. This turned out to be one of my favorite books I’ve ever written so I really hope you’ll check it out and let me know what you think!

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Sneak peek of the new Lilac Bay book!

The fifth book in the Lilac Bay series is available now! I always enjoy visiting the gang on Lilac Bay and this one was particularly fun. The books that are usually the most fun for me to write are the ones with a lot of character growth, and I just love the journey that Jenny takes in The One You Want. And Grant, the hot florist who steps in to help her get her life back on track, is totally crush-worthy!

Scroll down to check out an exclusive look at the first chapter. You can pick up The One You Want at all the major ebook vendors now.

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Special Sneak Peek!

***

ChapterOne

Sitting on that bench in the middle of Town Square, I knew my life was going to change. I, Jenny Hillman, was about to get everything I had ever wanted.

At least, that’s what I kept telling myself. I had just finished reading a book about mantras and the power of positive thought, so I was trying to stay hopeful. Apparently if I said it in my head enough, the universe would manifest my desires for me.

Or something like that. I’m pretty sure.

Okay, so I didn’t actually read the entire book, more like skimmed the first chapter, but still. I was sure I had the gist of it down.

Be positive,I reminded myself. You can do this. You are the new and improved Jenny Hillman.

Well, somewhatnew and improved. In all honesty, my attempts to change my lifelong shy and awkward-as-all-hell personality hadn’t really worked out the way I wanted them to. But the important thing was that I was trying, right?

I attempted the whole positive thinking crap one more time, with a few adjustments for the sake of honesty. You can do this. You are the kind of new and almost certainly on your way to being improved Jenny Hillman.

God, I couldn’t even give myself a pep talk properly.

The truth was, self-confidence had never quitebeen my thing. I had spent the first twenty-eight years of my life feeling just a little bit out of step with my peers.

Take my best friend Riley, for instance. That girl never met a challenge she couldn’t face. She was one of the best players on our island’s co-ed baseball team, outshining all the boys almost every time they played. She had a really cool, high-pressured job in TV news over on the mainland. And when she realized she was in love with her lifelong friend Andrew, she had the lady-balls to go after him.

Unlike some people. People who, for instance, had been crushing on the same totally out-of-her-league guy for months on end, without so much as a kiss on the cheek to show for it.

By some people, I meant me, if that wasn’t painfully obvious.

In my defense, I didn’t have a whole lot of experience in dating. There had been a few guys in college, but nothing long term. And they had all approached me. Not because I was some great beautiful catch they just couldn’t live without. No, any guy I attracted was more than likely just interested in my family connections. Or our money. Or both.

That’s the kind of thing that makes a girl doubt herself. When your dates are more likely to spend the whole night talking about your father or your grandparents than about you, it kind of messes with your head.

With that pathetic romantic history, it should come as no surprise that I had never asked a guy out in my life. So when I fell head over heels for Cal Miller, the island’s beloved veterinarian, I didn’t really have any idea what in the hell I was supposed to do about it.

Giving up fifteen hours of my life every week to volunteer at his animal shelter had definitely not been the answer. All that had gotten me was a burning desire to never clean out a litter box again.

Adopting three cats from said animal shelter also hadn’t done much to make him notice me. And now I got to clean out litter boxes at home, too.

Definitely not my brightest idea.

But even though my efforts hadn’t yielded any positive results thus far, I had been trying. I was determined that I wouldn’t remain the same hapless wallflower that I had always been. So what if confidence didn’t come naturally to me? That didn’t mean that I couldn’t learn, right?

So for the last several months I’d been on a personal quest to get control of my previously pathetic life. I signed up for online dating—not because I wanted to meet someone online, but because I figured I could use a little practice before attempting things with Mr. Perfect. The dates…hadn’t gone well. But we can learn from failure as much as success, right?

Then there was the makeover I’d attempted. Probably wasn’t a good idea to go for a new haircut at Sherry’s Hair Barn here on the island. I came out of that looking like an electrocuted poodle. The new wardrobe I’d tried hadn’t helped much either—who knew that it would be so difficult to walk in wedge heels?

Hell, I’d even signed up for a dance class. But I couldn’t even let myself thinkabout what a disaster that had turned out to be. Let’s just say there was blood involved.

So, yeah. My life was still pretty pathetic. But all of that was changing today. Just as soon as I could move my scaredy-cat ass off this bench and go into the shelter to talk to Cal.

Focus on what you can control,I reminded myself. I had read that in one of my many mostly-skimmed self-help books as well. What could I control in that moment? Well, my hair looked pretty decent. I’d spent an hour struggling with a hot curling iron, and for once, my stubbornly straight hair actually seemed like it might just stay wavy. I was wearing my favorite sundress, the blue one that made me feel slightly less immature than most of my wardrobe. My yellow ballet flats, though not as sexy as the scary wedge-heels, felt pretty and feminine.

Plus, I was pretty sure they wouldn’t cause me to fall flat on my face, so, bonus.

And then there was the final touch. I’d stayed up late making a batch of Rose Powell’s famous cherry fudge cookies. Rose herself had taught me her top-secret recipe last year. And though they weren’t half as good as hers, they were still pretty damn tasty.

A fact I knew for certain because I had stress eaten half a dozen before leaving my condo.

Rose Powell’s cookies were legendary on this island. Who would turn those down?

But what if it seemed like I was trying too hard? Oh God. That’s what he would think, right? He would take one look at my outfit and my cherry fudge cookies and be able to see the desperation rolling off of me in waves. Maybe this whole thing had been a big mistake.

Going home right now didn’t mean I was giving up. I could always try again tomorrow—maybe without the cookies next time.

“Hey, girl,” a familiar voice said, and I looked over to see Libby Johnson heading my way through the park. “How’s it going?”

Immediately, all of my confidence in my outfit went out the window. Out of anyone on this island, Libby knew how to dress. She always looked cool and stylish and put-together—three things I had never been able to get the hang of.

Today was no exception. Libby was dressed in a jersey wrap-dress that was doing amazing things for her figure, her shiny blond hair falling in those perfect beach waves I’d spent an hour trying to achieve. She made it all look so effortless—the clothes, her hair, the flawless makeup.

And it wasn’t just superficial stuff. Libby oozed confidence and competence. She owned her own store here on the island, had been elected treasurer of the commerce committee, and had more friends than anyone I knew.

“Sweetie, you look great today,” she said, eyes scanning me as she approached my bench.

Did I mention that she was also really, really nice?

“Thanks, Libs,” I told her, trying not to fiddle with the edges of my cookie box.

“Seriously.” She perched on the bench next to me, bumping my hip with hers to get me to move over. “You should wear your hair like that more often. And I love this dress.”

“The hair took longer than I’d like to admit,” I told her, and she smiled.

“The things we do for beauty. Did I tell you that I agreed to be Sherry’s guinea pig last week? She’s considering adding a new service to the salon. Waxing.”

From the way Libby’s lip was twitching, I had a feeling she wasn’t talking about her eyebrows.

“Oh, Libbs,” I said, horrified. “You didn’t.”

“Girl, you will never know fear until you have Sherry Mercer squinting at you through her bifocals while she approaches your lady-bits with a bucket of hot wax.”

I snorted in laughter and Libby joined me. I loved this about her—the way she viewed everything as an adventure, an opportunity to gather a new story to tell.

“Hey, Libby,” someone called from the walking path.

“How’s it going Hank?” she called back to the man, before turning to me like there’d been no interruption. “Speaking of Sherry, I think she’s leading the meeting tonight. You’re coming, right?”

Again, I fought the urge to fidget. Libby hosted a woman’s club—aptly named after her— on the island. The Libbies was meant to be a book club slash baking type of thing but the meetings usually devolved into lots of drinking and gossip without much concern for whatever books or baked goods were on the agenda.

I enjoyed attending the Libbies meetings, I really did. But those women had a tendency to be…well, let’s just call them wild. It could be a little intimidating.

But I was supposed to be the new and improved Jenny Hillman, right? And the new and improved Jenny Hillman didn’t get intimidated by a bunch of drunk and bawdy women.

Before I could respond, someone else passed by—Jerry Brooks, a local farmer—shouting out a greeting to Libby. Then, as an afterthought, he added “And Jenny. Nice to see you, too.”

I was used to this. Lilac Bay Island was small. In the summer we got crowded with tourists, people pouring in from downstate and all over the country to enjoy our small town vibe and abundant nature offerings. Our population more than quadrupled over the summer months. But those of us who stuck around all year, even through the harsh winter, made up a pretty small and tight-knit club.

Well, most of us did.

It wasn’t at all surprising to me that Libby had been greeted by our neighbors twice since sitting down. Meanwhile, I’d been on this bench for nearly twenty minutes and hadn’t received so much as a wave.

We both called our hellos to Jerry and Libby turned back to me. “The meeting?” she prompted.

I squared my shoulders. “Of course I’m coming. I just hope Sherry doesn’t try to do a waxing demonstration for her activity.”

Libby snorted. “Right? It was bad enough the time she tried to give out free perms. I mean, I love that crazy old woman, but seriously—who wants to look like Sherry?”

I clamped my mouth shut so I wouldn’t be tempted to admit that I had only recently voluntarily let Sherry at my hair. Luckily the really rough parts had grown out now. Mostly.

“Well, I’m glad you’re coming,” Libby said, patting my knee. “It makes me happy to see you getting out more.”

I ducked my head, knowing I was blushing.

“Seriously, Jenny,” she pressed—Libby was never one to leave well enough alone. “I can tell you’ve been trying to get out of that shell of yours lately. I think that’s great.”

I looked up at her, more than a little surprised that she had noticed. Most people didn’t really notice me much at all. “Yeah?”

She nods, grinning. “Definitely. It’s time you showed this whole island how awesome you are.”

To my surprise, her praise didn’t have me blushing. Instead, I felt something rising up inside me, some foreign boldness I wasn’t at all used to. Could this be what confidence felt like?

Just a few minutes ago, I’d been contemplating going home and giving up on my plan for Cal Miller. And then the universe dropped Libby in my lap with her sincere compliments and her encouragement. Was that a sign, or what?

“You know something, Libbs?” I said, tightening my grip on the cookie box as I stood. “I think you’re right.”

She grinned up at me. “Of course I’m right. Haven’t you heard? I’m always right.”

“See you around,” I said, turning on the spot, determined not to let this unexpected burst of confidence go to waste.

I marched across Town Square, heading straight for the animal shelter on Maple, ready to change my life.

 

***

 

The front room of the animal shelter was empty when I walked in. I frowned, looking around. I was sure the manager, Robin, was supposed to be on the schedule. Plus, I was sure Dr. Miller was supposed to be in today.

Not like I had his schedule memorized or anything.

Okay, I totally did. But anyone who saw the guy would never blame me. The man was fine. We’re talking Eric from the Little Mermaid looks—I was kind of a Disney fanatic. But the man had that same thick dark hair and the piercing blue eyes. It was a wonder every woman on this island wasn’t breaking down down his door.

It wasn’t just his looks, either—I’m not that shallow. No, the main appeal of Cal Miller was how kindhe was. He never had a harsh word for anyone, even though pet-owners sometimes had a habit of getting stressed when their fur babies weren’t feeling well. Dr. Miller treated them all the same—the perfect balance of charming and professional.

But it was when he got to interacting with the animals that he really made my heart swell. He always got right down on their level, talking to them like they could understand every word. He cradled grumpy kitties to his broad chest, got down on the floor to rub dog bellies, and always kept a pocket full of little treats to lavish on them all.

And the day he had to put Debbie Franklin’s Pomeranian, Buttercup, to sleep, I had accidentally walked into the break room to find him crying. He wasn’t making a big deal out of it, no noisy sobs. Just a few quiet tears rolling down his cheeks. He hadn’t acted embarrassed at all to be caught, just gave me a sad smile and said, “these are always the hardest days.”

Buttercup wasn’t even a nice dog. But Dr. Miller had morned her all the same.

I think that was the moment I fell completely in love with him.

But today, there was no sign of his disarming smile. No sign of anyone, which was odd—we never left the desk unmanned. Maybe Dr. Miller had been called to his office next door for some kind of emergency? Just when I was thinking I would go over to check, I heard a giggle from behind the desk.

That seemed odd. Robin wasn’t exactly the warmest woman. I didn’t think I had ever heard her giggle.

I ducked around the counter, thinking I’d check the break room before trying Cal’s office next door—and stopped short as the hallway to the back came into view. It wasn’t empty.

Oh. Oh shit.

Apparently Dr. Miller had a rather large birthmark on his ass. Who knew?

Well, I knew, now, because I was currently staring at his very naked backside in the break room hallway. And Robin knew about the birthmark, too, obviously, because she was the one currently pushing his pants down to the floor.

I stood there, frozen, my mind trying to make sense of what I was seeing. Robin was shirtless, her leopard print bar on full display, one jean-clad leg (thank God she was still wearing pants) hitched up around Cal’s waist while she tugged on his slacks. His face was buried in her neck and they were both laughing, clearly having a grand old time.

In the middle of the hallway. Which opened up to the front room. And would be clearly visible by anyone out on the sidewalk who happened to be walking from the other direction and looked in at the right angle.

“Oh my God,” I gasped, slapping a hand over my eyes and spinning around. I tried to dart around the front desk, desperate to escape, but I couldn’t actually see with my hand over my eyes, and I wound up running straight into the corner of the desk. I yelped in pain, pretty sure I was bleeding and then, for good measure, dropped the box of cookies on the floor.

“Shit,” I heard Dr. Miller mutter from the hallway. “I’m sorry, hang on!”

“Oh, don’t get all panicky,” Robin replied easily, as if she hadn’t just been caught dry-humping her boss at work. “It’s just little Jenny Hillman. She’s nothing to worry about.”

Little Jenny Hillman. Nothing to worry about.

Yeah. That pretty much summed it all up, didn’t it?

A New Lilac Bay Book is Here!

I am so glad that I can finally share the new Lilac Bay book with all of you! I think this might have been the hardest book I’ve ever written. I was working through a lot of anxiety and writer’s block with this book. So it feels really good to not only be finished with it, but to be really happy with how it turned it out. I so hope you like it too! You can check it out on Amazon and everywhere else ebooks are sold. Let me know what you think!

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Two rival bar owners. One inconvenient attraction. All’s Fair in Love and Beer in this new small town romance from USA Today Bestselling author Rachel Schurig!

***

Cora Hanson’s bar is a Lilac Bay institution.

And that’s just the way she always wanted it. Nothing makes Cora happier than knowing her friends and neighbors are having a good time at Cora’s Place, the pub she’s poured her heart and soul into. Sure, maybe it gets a little stressful, working as much as she does. And yes, it’s been an awful long time since Cora has made time to date. But what does that matter so long as her bar remains Lilac Bay’s most popular gathering place?

When Owen Nichols shows up with plans to open his own bar, Cora is sure she doesn’t have anything to worry about. There’s no way some outsider can compete with her years of success. There’s only one problem—Cora and Owen have history. And it’s hard to concentrate on beating Owen in business when she can’t seem to forget what it was like to be in his arms.

Cora knows she needs to get her head in the game if she wants to win in this battle of the beer joints. But Owen doesn’t seem to be backing down. And it’s starting to look like it’s not Cora’s customers he’s after—it just might be her heart.

I have a brand new book out today!

Always You is now available! This is the 2nd book in a new small town romance series called Lilac Bay. I’ve been having a really great time getting to know the characters on this little island and I’m already excited to plan out book 3.

Always You is being offered for only 99c for a limited time only! This book will normally sell for $3.99 so make sure you grab your copy before the prices go back up! Always You is my contribution to the Friends with Benefits series. All of the books in this series can also be purchased for only 99c for a short time. Stuff your e-reader with some cheap reads for summer!

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For as long as she can remember, Riley James has wanted to work in television. And more often than not, Riley gets what she wants. There’s a reason, after all, that she’s considered the most competitive person on Lilac Bay Island. Riley likes to win.
So when Lilac Bay is chosen to participate in a reality TV show, it’s only natural that Riley leads the charge to bring home a victory for their small town. And who better to help her than her best friend, Andrew?
As the competition kicks into gear, the stakes for Riley and Andrew get higher. The line between reality and the game isn’t so easy to find. This time the two old friends are playing for keeps. And love might be the ultimate prize.

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Don’t miss the rest of the books in the Friends with Benefits series! All of these books are available for only 99c for a very short time. Don’t miss out!

Friends with Benefits series!

I have really exciting news! I’m participating in a brand new series with some author friends called FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS. We’ll be releasing brand new, full-length books twice a week for the next month! All of these books feature friends that realize they can be MUCH more! The best part–each one will be available for pre-order and release for only 99c! None of these authors ever release full novels at that price–including me!

You can read more about the series right here!

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The first book up is Deanna Roy’s The Billionaire’s Ballet. I’ve already ordered it and have it waiting on my kindle!

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The Billionaire’s Ballet by Deanna Roy

Juliet left for dance school pining for the son of her mother’s billionaire boss. But when she returned an accomplished ballerina to win his heart, she discovered his brother was the one who took her breath away.
Laugh and sigh with this fresh retelling of Audrey Hepburn’s classic Sabrina from six-time USA Today bestselling author Deanna Roy.
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My book will be Always You, the second book in the Lilac Bay series. If you picked up Where Your Heart Is two weeks ago, you’ll be able to read book 2 next week! I never release books this close together!! You can pre-order Always You from Amazon right now for only 99c!

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I’m really excited about the FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS series you guys! I hope you can snag a whole bunch of cheap, awesome reads!

xo Rachel

Where Your Heart Is, available now!

Where Your Heart Is has arrived! This is the first book in a brand new series that I’ve been working on for AGES! Seriously, it feels like I’ve been hanging out with these characters for a year without being able to talk about them with anyone! So I’m very excited to finally release the people of Lilac Bay out into the wild. I really hope you like the first book in the new series. Yay!

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A Few Updates

I have been getting lots of questions about a release date for the new Ransom book. I’m happy you guys are eager and excited for Lennon’s story! I turned Rescue over to my editor last week, which means we’re getting close! It usually takes a few weeks to go through several rounds of editing and proofreading but that can vary quite a bit. That means I’m not able to give a firm release date quite yet. The holiday season can also impact the release date–many of the ebook vendors shut down for publishing over Christmas. I think it’s probably a safe bet to look at early January 2016 for the release. If everything happens to go quicker than expected, of course I’ll publish it ASAP! Stay tuned to my Facebook page and sign up for my newsletter for updates.

Did you guys check out A Three Girls Christmas? This is a short story about Annie, Ginny, and Jen and it’s available now! This short story was originally featured in a charity anthology several years ago but this is the first time you can purchase it on its own.

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Tomorrow is going to be another Stuff Your eReader event! Dozens of ebooks from bestselling authors will be available for free. These events are always really fun and there’s a great group of authors participating this time. Check my Facebook page and newsletter for links tomorrow!

For a short time, several of my books are available in the Kindle Unlimited library. If you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can access some of the Three Girls books and the Love Story books for free! These books won’t be in the program for long so check them out ASAP.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone for being so patient with me! My schedule didn’t turn out quite as expected this year for a variety of reasons. I really got slowed down and my releases just didn’t happen as quickly as I would have liked. I know some of you were hoping for more Three Girls this year and another Lovestruck book. I wish I could have made that happen! My goal for 2016 is definitely MORE BOOKS! The good news is that I’ve started a brand new series and book one is almost finished! So we should be getting off to a good start with Rescue and something new early in the new year. I’m also hoping for a new Three Girls AND a new Lovestruck in 2016. And I’m not finished with Ransom yet either 😉

I hope you are all enjoying the season and staying warm if you’re in a snowy northern climate like me! I’ve been enjoying lots of Christmas movies by the fire with my Lucy dog curled up next to me 🙂