The New Ransom series is here!

If you ever wondered what it’s like to grow up in this famous, rock star family, you’re about to find out!

Amazon, Amazon UK, Kobo, iTunes, Google Play, Nook

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The first book in the brand new Ransom Family series is now available! I’m so excited to share this series with you. It’s no secret the Ransom boys are my favorite characters to write about, and I’ve really enjoyed jumping back into their world! The Ransom Family series introduces a whole bunch of new characters and also revisits everyone you know and love!

Book One, Sing for Me, is all about Will Ransome (Cash and Sam’s son) and his attempts to navigate life as a member of a very famous rock and roll family. It was really fun for me to flesh out Will’s character (we meet him as a newborn in A Ransom Christmas) and explore what it would be like for a Ransome offspring to strike out on his own, start a career, fall in love, and all the drama that comes with adulthood!

Sing For Me is now available on all the major ebook vendors. I hope you’ll check it out! The second book in the series, Wrong For Me (Rose’s story), is available to pre-order now and will be releasing in early October.

Sing For Me available now:

Amazon, Amazon UK, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, Nook

Wrong For Me available to preorder:

Amazon, Amazon UK, Google Play, Nook

 

 

 

 

 

New book sneak peek!

We are getting so close to the release of my new book! Sing For Me is the first book in a brand new series all about the grown-up offspring of the Ransom gang! I am SO excited for this series. The first book introduces a whole bunch of new characters and I already feel like they’re all friends.

Sing For Me comes out on Tuesday, August 11th, but you can pre-order it on Amazon now! I hope you’ll check it out!

In the meantime, here’s a little sneak peek of the first chapter. I hope you enjoy getting to know Will, Eva, Rose, and all the rest of the Ransom gang ❤

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Pre-order Sing For Me now on Amazon!

Chapter One

It’s so loud backstage that I’m pretty sure the walls are shaking. Over the pounding noise of the band’s instruments, I can hear the sold-out crowd screaming and cheering. All around us, roadies, venue staff, and random people I don’t recognize rush around.

It would be easy to get lost in a madhouse like this.

“Will! Rose! Wait up!”

Next to me, my cousin Rose huffs loudly enough for me to hear even over all the noise. She flips her long blonde braid over her shoulder as she turns her head. “Hurry up, RIVER. You said if we let you come you wouldn’t slow us down.”

I turn back to locate Rose’s brother. His white blonde hair, the same color as Rose’s, makes it easy to spot him, even as short as he is. River’s not that much younger than us—he turned eight a few days ago. But I’m just coming off a growth spurt, and Rose recently turned ten, which is really old. Next to us, Riv still looks like a tiny kid.

And if I let him get lost in all this craziness, our parents will kill me. Sure, Rose is the oldest, so you’d think they’d blame her, but I know that’s not how it would go. Rose is everyone’s favorite and she never gets blamed for anything. Besides, everyone will know that this spying mission was my idea.

Not wanting to get grounded for the rest of the tour, I turn back and grab River’s arm. “Such a baby,” Rose grumbles next to me. 

River’s face is red, the way it gets before he cries, so I ruffle a hand through his hair and grin down at him. “Stick with us, okay? We don’t want to get in trouble.”

“Speaking of trouble,” Rose says darkly, peering down the way we just came. “Someone’s going to notice us if we don’t get moving.”

“Let’s go then.” 

I lead my cousins down the twisting, crowded hallways of the stadium. It’s like a maze back here and I’m not exactly sure where the stage is. I figure if I follow the noise we’ll get there eventually.  

We make another turn and all three of us freeze at the same time. Standing just a few feet away, talking to a roadie, is our Uncle Levi. Great.

We must be lucky, because he seems pretty preoccupied with his conversation. But I know he could look up at any minute and then we’ll be busted.

“Run for it!” I hiss, spinning on my heel. My cousins follow suit, Rose keeping a firm hand on River’s elbow this time as we take off down the hallway.

“Will?” Uncle Levi calls from behind us, sounding confused. 

“Faster!”

Our sneakers pound on the concrete floors as we run down a long, crowded hallway. Being smaller than everyone else comes in handy for once—we can dart around the roadies and the venue staff. “Hey,” a man carrying a heavy looking amp shouts as River jumps right in front of him, making him stumble. A security guard makes a grab for me as we pass but I manage to pull my arm back at the last minute.

“We’re with the band!” I shout over my shoulder, and River gives a snort of laughter.

“Down here,” Rose cries, turning down another hallway. I manage a glance over my shoulder as I follow her. Our uncle is standing way down the hallway, his hands on his hips. But he grins at me when he sees me looking, shaking his head, and I know he’s not really mad. I grin back before I take the turn, running fast behind Rose and River.

“Shh,” Rose says suddenly, pulling up short. I skid to a stop behind her, out of breath, and look around. 

“Excellent,” I say, clapping her on the back. Rose has somehow managed to lead us directly into the dark wings around the stage.

“You think Uncle Levi is gonna tell Mommy?” River whispers to Rose.

“Probably,” she says flippantly, like she’s too grown up to care about getting in trouble. 

I catch the worried gleam in River’s eye. “Let’s hide,” I suggest, leading them over to one of the empty equipment crates. I push River in front of me, wedging us both behind the crate. Rose sighs behind me but follows us. With a little wiggling, we mange to squeeze into a pocket between the crates. From here we’re hidden from the rest of the wings.

We also can’t see anything.

“Shoot,” River mutters. “Why’d we go through all that trouble sneaking out of the bus if we can’t even see?”

I risk sticking my head up long enough to take stock of our area. There’s another crate right in front of us and beyond that I have a perfect view of the stage.

The noise actually hurts my ears this close to the speakers and the massive, screaming crowd. It’s so noisy it’s hard to even think.

“Let’s just go back,” Rose mutters.

“Nah,” I say, making up my mind in an instant. This is probably the kind of thing my mom always gets mad at me for. Impulsive, she calls me. I’m not totally positive what that word means but one time I heard my dad laughing with her after they’d yelled at me for getting caught sneaking into one of the hotel pools on the last tour. “Kid acts first and thinks later,” my dad had said.

“Sounds like someone else I know,” Mom said, laughing with him.

I’m pretty sure that’s what impulsive means—acting first and thinking later. And mom would definitely get real mad at me if she could see what I’m about to do.

I grip the edge of the crate and give it a huge push. It’s heavy but luckily it has wheels, and I manage to move it a couple inches.

“What are you doing?” Rose hisses.

“Giving us a way to see.” I push on the crate again, with my shoulder this time. It moves a little more.

“Awesome!” River calls softly. “I can see Daddy’s piano!”

“A couple more feet,” Rose tells me, crawling over to where I’m still pushing on the crate. She adds her shoulder to the side and we both give a good hard push—sending the crate sliding quickly forward, way faster than before. “The wheel must have been stuck!” Rose whisper-yells. 

We both watch in silent terror as the crate keeps on rolling until it’s right on the stage. In the middle of Ransom’s sold-out show.

“Get down!” I whisper, pulling on Rose’s arm. We crawl across the dirty floor before throwing ourselves behind River’s crate. “Did anyone see us?” I pant.

“Uncle Lennon looked over here,” River whispers back. “But I don’t think he saw you.”

Peering over the crate, I can see my dad standing just a few feet away. He’s in the middle of a guitar solo, not paying any attention to what’s going on backstage, and I let out a relieved sigh. Across the stage, Uncle Lennon keeps looking over at the crate, probably wondering where the heck it came from. Then a roadie darts out to pull it back into the wings and I let out a relieved breath. We got away with it.

Rose slaps a hand over her mouth, giggling. I grin at her. Sometimes it’s fun to almost get caught.

“Ooh, I love this song,” Rose says happily, settling in next to me. The three of us rest our chins on the top of the crate, careful to keep our heads low. It doesn’t matter—from here we can see just about everything. Our dads playing their instruments. Uncle Lennon with his bass guitar. The flashing lights reflecting on the stage. And the huge crowd filling up the stadium, yelling and cheering for Ransom.

“This is so much better than the box,” I say, excited. For most of the shows, that’s where we sit, in the fancy boxes up at the top of the stadium with our moms and all of our cousins. There’s more room up there for the babies to play and for all of us to spread out—we have a super big family. And there’s usually a waiter who will bring me as much root beer as I can sneak without my mom noticing.

But the boxes are really far from the stage. Nothing like this little hideout in the wings. I’m close enough to see my dad’s fingers on the strings of his guitar.

“It’s definitely louder,” Rose says, rubbing her ears. “Now I know why mom always makes me wear those headphones when we come close to the stage during a show.”

“Louder is what makes it cool,” I say, eyes glued to my dad’s guitar. “Rock music is supposed to be loud.”

“Can you see Uncle Reed?” Rose asks, twisting her body around to see the back of the stage.

“Nah, can’t see him from here.” But the pounding of his drum’s means he’s out there with his brothers.

“Someday, I’m gonna be out there, too,” I mutter, mostly to myself. I have it all planned out. When I get older, I’m going to be a guitar player, just like my dad. I already know a bunch of my chords, which Grandpa says is really good for my age. By the time I’m a grown up, I know I’m going to be just as good as my uncles. Then they’ll have to let me in the band.

“Not me,” Rose says, shaking her head. “I would hate to have all those people looking at me.”

“How many people are there?” River asks, craning his neck to see the crowd. “A hundred?”

Rose snorts. “No way, Riv. This stadium seats twenty thousand people.”

River’s eyes go wide, like he can’t even imagine a number that big. I kind of feel the same way. I have no idea how many people that is, all I know is that it’s a lot.

Because Ransom is the best band in the entire world and so, so many people want to come see them play live.

“I wish we were on the other side of the stage,” River says. “We can’t see Daddy’s face!”

Across the stage, my Uncle Daltrey is pounding on his piano keys while he sings, his back to us. 

“It’s good we can’t see his face,” Rose mutters. “You’d probably wave at him or something and then we’d be caught.”

“I would not!” River cries, way too loud. I slap a hand over his mouth.

“Just because it’s loud out there doesn’t mean the roadies can’t hear us,” I tell him.

“The roadies, huh?” a grown up voice behind us says, and we all freeze. “I think you kids have bigger things to worry about.”

Heart sinking, I turn to see my older brother, Wyatt, standing behind us. His arms are crossed over his chest and he’s got a serious look on his face. But when I look at his eyes I can tell that he’s not really mad. In fact, I think he might be trying not to laugh.

“We just wanted to see the show,” I tell him.

He glances down at his watch. “Pretty sure it’s a school night, kids. Which means you aren’t supposed to be anywhere near the show.”

Rose sticks a finger into her mouth, pretending to make herself throw up. “I hate school.”

“It’s so, so super boring, Wyatt,” River agrees.

Wyatt rolls his eyes. “I used to have school on the bus, too,” he reminds us. Wyatt is way old, like almost a grown-up. My mom had him a long time before she met my dad, so he was already almost ten when I was born. When he wants to tease me, he reminds me that he was the one who got to name me when I was a baby, and if I’m not careful he might change it to something really awful. Like Barney. 

But Wyatt doesn’t tease too much. He’s a really cool big brother.

Hopefully that means he’s not going to get us in trouble. “Are you gonna tell Mom?”

“You should have thought of Mom before,” he says, his voice suddenly a little sharp. “She doesn’t need to be chasing you down, Will.”

I hang my head, feeling a rush of guilt in my belly. My mom is really, really pregnant with our baby sister right now, and she gets out of breath and uncomfortable when she has to walk a long way. I picture her following us through all those winding hallways we just ran through and feel awful.

“Is she looking for me?”

“Nah, I don’t think she noticed yet.” He looks between the three of us. “But I do need to text your moms and let them know where you are.”

“Wyatt!” Rose cries, reaching for his hand.

“Sorry, Rosie,” he says, pulling out his phone. “If they see your bunks are empty they’ll worry.”

She scowls at him as he types into his phone. “This tour was more fun when you were still away at college.”

He laughs, tugging at the end of her braid. “When I’m at college, you’re the oldest,” he reminds her. “Maybe you should start acting more responsible.”

“Responsible sounds like another word for boring,” she says, and Wyatt laughs some more before he pockets his phone.

“Climb on out of there,” he says, holding out his hand to give us a boost. He eyes the crate. “Let me guess, the runaway crate was you guys?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I say, climbing out of our hiding spot. Wyatt slings an arm around my neck, pulling me close and messing up my hair. I squirm and try to punch him, but I’m just messing around. I never really get mad about Wyatt teasing me. Rose was wrong—I like tour much better when he’s here. My brother goes to a fancy college where he practices piano all day and I miss him a lot.

“Why don’t you guys come with me,” he says, letting me go to help Rose climb over the crate.

“Are you taking us to get in trouble?” River asks glumly.

“Nah.” Wyatt leans close to him. “I’ll tell you a secret—I used to sneak back stage when I was little too.”

“You did?” River asks, eyes wide, like he can’t believe a grown-up ever messed around like we do.

“Sure,” Wyatt says. “These are the best seats in the house.” He grins. “Well, almost.” He herds us away from the crates but we’re going the wrong way. Instead of heading back to the hallway, he seems to be leading us to—

“Wyatt, this is the stage,” Rose squeaks. 

“I know.” There’s laughter in his voice. “Check it out.”

We all look up to see that the song is over. Instead of moving right into the next one, the grown-ups on the stage are all relaxed. And they’re looking right at us.

“Oh, shoot,” River says, defeated.

“Don’t worry,” Wyatt says, pulling us out onto the stage. 

“Oh no, oh no,” Rose is muttering next to me, staring at the still-screaming crowd. Across the stage, Uncle Daltrey holds out his arms. He’s smiling. I let out a relieved sigh. Maybe they won’t be too mad.

River takes off immediately, beaming as he runs to his dad. The crowd goes even crazier when Uncle Daltrey pulls him up into his arms. He whispers something in his ear and River shyly waves at the fans. They erupt in another wave of cheers.

“Come on, Rose,” Wyatt calls over all the noise. He takes her hand, leading her across the stage to the piano. Before they get there, big arms appear in my vision, wrapping around me. My dad.

“You’re trouble, kid,” he says, but he’s grinning down at me. I grin right back, knowing he’s not mad. He gestures to one of the roadies before stepping up to his microphone. 

“So my son Wyatt was going to join us on piano for the next few songs,” he shouts to the fans, who scream right back. “But it looks like he brought a couple stowaways.”

Way out in the crowd I can see two of the huge screens that show what’s going on to the fans who are too far away from the stage to see much. Right now, the screens are showing River and Rose. My cousin slaps her hands over her eyes and Uncle Daltrey laughs. He gets both of them sitting in front of the piano, handing them tambourines. 

A roadie runs out on stage, carrying another guitar and three pairs of the big headphones our moms make us wear to protect our ears at concerts. On the screen, my face appears. My mouth hurts, I’m smiling so big. 

“Will,” my dad shouts over the noise, crouching in front of me, and I drag my eyes from the sight of my face on the huge TV to look at him. “Put these on.” He hands me a set of the headphones. “You don’t ever get this close to the stage without them again, you understand?”

I nod quickly. It doesn’t seem like we’re going to get in trouble for this so I’m pretty eager to do whatever he says to keep it that way. He helps me adjust the headphones on my ears and the sound immediately drops, no longer hurting my head.

My dad grins and holds out the extra guitar. I just stare at it. There’s no way he actually wants me to—

“You guys can sit in on this song,” he shouts. “One song. And then it’s straight back to the bus and into bed, you hear me?”

I can’t seem to close my mouth. I’m just standing there in front of all those people, staring at my dad like he’s lost his mind. He laughs and pushes the guitar into my chest. I finally snap out of it and grab the instrument out of his hands before he can change his mind. It’s too big for me, and heavy, but my dad helps me to adjust the strap around my neck then pulls a pick out of his back pocket.

“You remember the chords we worked on this week?”

I nod eagerly. Dad smiles at me. “Have fun, kid.”

When he turns back to the microphone, I snap my head over to Rose and River. They’re both wearing the big headphones too and Rose doesn’t look as scared of the crowd now. She gives me a huge smile and a thumbs up, like she’s happy for me. Rose knows all about my plans to be in the band someday.

“Looking good, kid!” Uncle Reed calls from behind me, and I spin around to see him grinning down from the drum kit.

This is so cool, I think, turning back to the front of the stage as my uncle counts off the intro behind me. Perfectly in sync, my dad and Uncle Lennon come in on their guitars. Across the stage, Wyatt is standing over the piano, his hands already a blur on the keys. Then Uncle Daltrey starts to sing from a mic at center stage and I remember that I’m supposed to be playing too.

For the next four minutes, I do my best to concentrate on playing my chords, trying to keep up with my dad. It’s hard to focus though—I just want to look around at everything.

Way too soon, the song is over. My dad takes the guitar from me and hands it off to a roadie. “Have fun?”

I throw my arms around his legs. “So much fun.”

He laughs, ruffling my hair. “Get back to bed now before your mom comes out here and kills me.”

I’m too happy to care that I have to go back. My cousins run across the stage to me, Rose grabbing my hand and pulling me towards the wings.

“That was the coolest thing ever!” I shout. “Did you see me play guitar?”

“Daddy let me play tambourine!” River is grinning just like me.

Rose flips her braid. “That was so scary! Did you see all those people? I thought I was going to throw up!”

“Don’t be a baby, Rose,” River says, and she pushes his shoulder.

I lead my cousins back to the hallway we came through. The sudden brightness hurts my eyes after the darkness of the stage area. It’s a lot easier to hear now, so we all take off our headphones.

“I want to do that every single night,” I tell them fervently.

“Think again, buddy.”

We all look up to see Aunt Daisy standing in front of us, her arms crossed over her chest. 

“Um, hi, Mommy,” Rose says, her voice too high. “We just went for a little walk.”

Aunt Daisy’s lips twitch. “You can drop the act, Rosie. I know all about it.” She looks between the three of us. “We’ll talk about it in the morning. Beds, now.”

I practically skip all the way to the busses behind the stadium. I’m already thinking of the next time I’ll be able to get on stage. Maybe I can convince my dad to make it a regular thing. Wyatt usually plays with them when he’s on a break from school. Why can’t I?

My excitement fizzles a little bit when we finally get on the bus and I see my mom standing in front of the bunks. She’s got her arms crossed too, and she looks a lot more annoyed than Aunt Daisy had.

She takes one look at my face and sighs. “Enjoy your moment, Will,” she says. “Tomorrow we’re going to have a long talk about the rules.”

“Sorry, Mom,” I tell her, but I can’t seem to wipe the smile off my face.

I rush to get my PJs on, eager to get into the privacy of my bunk where I can relive those minutes on the stage over and over. Before I can get my curtains closed, an upside down face appears next to my mattress. My cousin Everly, hanging down from the bunk above mine. 

“Go to sleep Lee,” I say, pushing on her forehead. 

She doesn’t listen, of course. Everly is seven and she thinks she’s the boss of the whole family.

“You’re in big trouble,” she whispers, and I can see her grinning even in the dark. Rose says Everly loves drama. “I heard your mom say you were going to get grounded tomorrow.”

“Big deal.” It’s not like I can go anywhere when the bus is on the road. We’re all stuck here.

“I bet she takes away your video game privileges,” she says.

Okay, that would be pretty bad. Playing video games with Rose is basically the only thing I look forward to when we’re all doing our school lessons on the bus.

But it’s hard to care too much about that right now, not when I can still hear the sound of the fans cheering for me. “It was worth it.” My smile is so big my cheeks hurt. “That was the best night of my life.”

Everly huffs and disappears back to her own bunk, leaving me alone with my memories of being on stage.

That’s going to be my life, I promise myself. Someday, I’m going to be a rock star, just like my dad and my uncles.

I can hardly wait.

PRE-ORDER SING FOR ME ON AMAZON NOW!

 

New Ransom series! Pre-order book 1 today

I have BIG NEWS!!

I’ve been hinting about this for a while and now I get to officially share the news here: I have a new series coming out! And not just any series–this one is super exciting for me because I get to revisit my favorite characters. That’s right, the Ransom gang is getting a new series! These new books are all about the next generation of Ransome kids, who are all grown up now and navigating the world as the off-spring of the most famous family in rock music. I can’t tell you how much fun it’s been to write these books and I’m so excited to share them with you!

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Book One, Sing for Me, is all about Will Ransome (Cash and Sam’s son) and will be released on August 11th–but you can pre-order your copy on Amazon now!

If you can’t tell, I’m crazy excited about this new series! I cannot wait to introduce you all to the extended Ransom clan–I already love them

Pre-order Sing For Me now!

Amazon

Amazon UK

To help the time pass more quickly while we wait, I’m going to be hosting a Ransom book club!Ransom Book Club!The Ransom book club will run for the next seven weeks. Each week we’ll read one of the novels from the original series and talk about ’em! Plus I’ll be sharing sneak peeks, exclusive content, and a couple contests. Want in on the fun? Come and join us! We’ll be getting started on Monday, June 22nd.

Join the book club here!

I’ll have plenty of Ransom news to share in the next few weeks! See you soon!

xoxo Rachel

Layla’s book is here!

I’m so excited to share the second book in the Intrigue series with you! Layla: an Intrigue Novel, is available now! The Intrigue books are a spin-off of the Ransom series, so if you’re missing that gang, you should check it out!

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Amazon US Amazon UK Nook Google Play iBooks Kobo

If you haven’t read the first book in the series, now is a great time to grab it. For a limited time, book one, Lance, is on sale for 99 cents. I rarely do 99 cent sales so you definitely want to get this one before it goes back to full price.

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Amazon US, Amazon UKGoogle PlayiTunesNookKobo

 

I hope you’re all doing well! If you pick up Layla’s book, I’d love to hear what you think!

xoxo Rachel

I HAVE NEWS! A new book and a big sale are coming your way!

Hey everyone! I hope you’re all having a great 2019 so far! My year has been BUSY. I bought a new house at the very beginning of January and it’s been tons of work getting it ready. But I have my office all set up and ready to go so at least I have a place to write!

And I have been writing! In fact I have a new book coming out on March 18th and you can  pre-order it on Amazon now! Layla: An Intrigue Novel, is the 2nd book in this new series. If you haven’t read the first Intrigue book, it’s a spin-off from the Ransom series, and the whole gang makes several appearances. In fact, one of my favorite Ransom brother moments happens in the first Intrigue book. So if you’re missing those boys, this would be a good one to pick up 😉

To celebrate the pre-order, I’m making book one, Lance, 99 cents for a limited time. I rarely do 99 cent sales so this is a great opportunity to get started on a new series! I really hope you’ll check it out!

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You can pre-order Layla: An Intrigue Novel, on Amazon now!

 

You can grab book one, Lance: An Intrigue Novel, for only 99 cents for a limited time!

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Amazon USAmazon UKiTunesKoboGoogle PlayNook

A Ransom Christmas is available now!

You can pick up this brand new Ransom story at all the major ebook vendors! A Ransom Christmas is a holiday novella about the entire Ransom gang and what happens after the events of The Ransome Brothers. There’s lots of typical Ransom silliness, brotherly drama, and plenty of Christmas fun. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Amazon

Amazon UK

Kobo

Nook

Google Play

iBooks

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Join the entire Ransom gang as they invade Vegas for the wedding none of them ever expected to happen—and plenty of Christmas surprises!

Amazon,  Amazon UK, Kobo, Nook, Google Play, iBooks

A Ransom Christmas is coming soon!

Did you know there’s a brand-new Ransom holiday novella coming out next week? I am so excited to share A Ransom Christmas with you!

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Pre-order on Amazon Now!

Pretty much as soon as I finished writing The Ransome Brothers, I knew I wanted to do a Christmas story with the boys. I was really happy with the way their stories wrapped up in that book, but I also was super bummed out that I had to cut certain things just because the darn thing was getting SO. FREAKING. LONG. I have a very clear picture in my mind about the way a few things are going to go for the Ransom gang (hint: there might just be some more babies and weddings to look forward to) but there was just no way to fit it all into one book.

Also, Christmas is my very favorite holiday. You know the scene in Reed’s book where Paige drags them to that Christmas store? Yeah, that store is totally real and I go there multiple times a year because I LOVE IT. So I thought it would be really fun to give you a little glimpse of how the Ransome boys spend Christmas now that they’re all partnered up with their girls.

Bonus: there’s a Levi scene that makes me soooo happy! I didn’t get to include nearly enough Levi in the last book (again, longest book ever!) and I really wanted to give him and Karen a fitting happy ending. I can’t wait for you to read it!

You can pre-order A Ransom Christmas on Amazon right now! It will be available everywhere else on Monday, October 22nd. The book is about half the length of a normal Ransom novel and it’s filled to the brim with Christmas fun. I hope you’ll spend your holidays with my favorite rock star brothers!

A little sappiness before release day…

Working on the sixth Ransom book was truly one of the best writing experiences of my life. Which is really surprising to me, considering how things were going before I started it.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you might know that this book was originally supposed to come out more than a year ago. But sometime after releasing Lennon’s book, I started to have a really hard time with my writing. I don’t know if it was writer’s block or feeling burned out or if my anxiety was getting worse, or what. All I know is that it got a lotharder to write. Over a two year stretch I wrote four books, which is way below my normal output (I usually publish at least five books a year).  I thought about starting The Ransome Brothersall the time, but it seemed like an impossible task. This series means so much to me, and I’ve been planning this book for years. I felt a lot of pressure to get it right and the thought of even starting it scared the hell out of me.

Several months ago, I decided I would read the rest of the series just to see how I felt about it—and man am I ever glad I did! Reading those books again, for the first time in ages, felt like hanging out with old friends. I realized that I knowthese characters, that I understand them and get what makes them tick. I remembered how much I freaking love writing about these brothers and their girls. For the first time in months and months I was excited to write again.

When I sat down to get started, writing felt easier than it had in years. This is the longest book I’ve ever written, and it was also one of the fastest. The words came easily and I finished it in record time (unfortunately this fast writing meant the editing process was crazy long and difficult, but oh well. Totally worth it!) Even better, it was fun—and writing hadn’t been fun for me in a long time. Even better than that, I love how the book turned out! That’s such an important thing for me as a writer. Of course I want the readers to enjoy it too, but so long as I really feel like I wrote what I wanted the way I wanted, I’ll always feel good about the book.

So before the book comes out tomorrow (tomorrow! Eek!) I wanted to give a shout out to my Ransome boys, and thank them for helping me to get back to the thing I most love to do in the world. And to thank all of you, too, for your patience and for encouraging me! And for being excited about this series and this book—I’m so happy to finally share it with you. You’re the best readers a girl could ask for!

The Ransome Brothers sneak peek!

Since we’re getting so close to release date, I thought I’d give you guys a little sneak peek of what I’ve been working on. This is the second chapter in book 6 of the Ransom series, The Ransome Brothers. Enjoy!

***

Will

I sit alone at the bar, drinking a beer, more than two thousand miles from my boys, watching them on television.

Reed is off, I think, tilting my head toward the screen as if that might help me to hear better over the noise of the bar. Yeah, definitely off. Not much, barely noticeable to most people. But I’m not most people. And I always notice that kind of thing.

I squint at the screen, trying to get a clear view of my oldest son, but the camera is focused on Daltrey at the piano.  He looks pissed, I think. In fact, they all look pretty pissed. Cash is scowling, Lennon’s head is bent over his bass, his hair covering his eyes, and Daltrey has that flat expression on his face that says he would rather be anywhere else. And Reed…I don’t really want to think about how Reed looks right now as he subjects his drum kit to the frustration and anger I know he’s feeling.

Levi, the tour manager, is in New York with the band tonight, and probably knows what’s wrong with them, why they all seem like they’d rather be at a funeral than up there playing. I sigh, flexing my fingers against the bar so I don’t reach for my phone. I’m not supposed to be calling Levi. I’m supposed to be giving them space.

“Oh, I love this band,” a girl says, sliding up onto a stool further down the bar. “Aren’t they amazing?”

Her friend nods eagerly as she joins her. “So amazing. And gorgeous. Just look at Daltrey.”

“I’m more of a Cash girl myself,” the first girl giggles. “Those arms.”

They both sit quietly for a moment, watching. “They sound great,” the second one says. “Hey, didn’t you see them live last year?”

“Best concert ever,” the first girl says. She gestures at the TV screen. “I mean, listen to them. They’re crazy good live.”

I shake my head. It’s always hard for me to remember that the things I pick up on aren’t necessarily obvious to everyone else. I look at those boys and can read every emotion on their faces. Can hear every minor mistake they make. The average fan just sees a great band playing one of their hits.

“Need another beer?”

“Sure, thanks.” I slide my empty bottle across the bar, still not taking my eyes off the screen. They’re nearing the bridge and Cash had been having trouble with it the entire time we were in Europe.

“You must be a pretty big fan,” the bartender says as she places another Heineken in front of me. “You’ve barely blinked.”

I snort. Big fan. Yeah, you could say that.

My phone rings in my pocket and I grab it, eyes still glued to the TV. “Will,” I say.

“You’re watching?” Levi asks, and I exhale in relief. We had decided it would be better if I gave the boys some distance, but Levi must know it’s driving me crazy.

“Yeah. They sound good.”

“Yeah.” Levi’s quiet for a moment. “Reed’s off.”

“I didn’t want to mention it.”

Levi chuckles. “Not much point in me telling them. No performances on the horizon.” He clears his throat. “So we’re heading right to the airport from here. Anything you want them to know before they go their separate ways?”

I try to push away the stab of pain that comes with his words. It’s bad enough that I need someone else to keep me up to date on the comings and goings of my own kids, but it’s even worse that I need to rely on Levi to pass along information to them.

My sons aren’t taking my calls.

“Will?”

I can tell from Levi’s tone that the younger man is feeling sorry for me. Up on the TV, the camera zooms in on Daltrey’s hands.

“What’s Dalt’s problem?” I ask, unable to help myself. “Reed and Lennon being pissed off, I get…”

“Daisy stayed in Nashville with the baby,” Levi says. “It’s the first time he’s left them. He wasn’t thrilled about it.”

There’s another stab, this one deeper. “And Cash?”

“I think Cash is just annoyed that the rest of them are being pissy.”

“Any fights lately?”

Levi snorts. “Not any more than usual.”

“Just keep them from killing each other, Levi.”

“I always do.” He clears his throat again. “So…anything to pass along?”

“Just remind them of the conference call coming up.”

“Sure.” He’s quiet for a long moment. Up on the screen the boys are finishing up. “You gonna be on that call?”

I release the breath I’ve been holding. “I guess we’ll play that by ear.” I watch as they leave their instruments, gathering in the center of the stage to take their bows, arms around each other’s shoulders, the way they finish every performance. “Thanks for checking in, Levi. You have a good week off.”

“Will do.” He pauses. “Try to relax, okay, Will? You could use it.”

“Sure.” It’s a bullshit answer. Relaxing has never been something I’m particularly good at, and Levi knows it. “Safe flight, Son.”

“Talk to you soon.”

I end the call, slipping the phone back into my pocket. The TV is on a commercial now. I look down at my bottle. I should have gone for something stronger.

As if reading my mind, the bartender appears in front of me. “You made fast work of that one,” she says, reaching for my bottle. “Another?”

“I’ll take a whiskey. Neat. Glenfiddich if you have it.”

She makes a scathing noise in the back of her throat. “Take a look around, buddy. Do you think this is the kind of place that carries Glenfiddich? You can have Jack Daniels.”

Something in her wry tone has me looking up, really taking her in for the first time. It’s hard to tell in the dim light of the bar, but I think she might be about my age. So it’s a little surprising to notice the small silver hoop in her nose. She wears her hair in a short pixie cut—it suits her heart-shaped face. Tight jeans and a bright purple tank top show off her curves and I’m surprised to feel a rush of attraction. It’s been a long time since I’ve experienced that particular emotion. One of many things I just don’t have much time for.

She crosses her arms now, eyebrows raised. “So did you want the Jack Daniels or did you want to stare at me some more?”

Embarrassed, I straighten on the stool. “Jack would be great. Straight up.”

She taps the bar top with her palms. “Coming right up.”

I try not to watch her walk away—really, what’s the point? I have much bigger things to worry about at the moment. It’s difficult though. There’s something about the way she walks that makes me want to keep looking.

“Not bad,” a familiar voice says. I don’t bother to turn my head as Lee Lamar slides up onto the stool next to me. From the tone of his voice, I’m pretty sure my friend is also checking out the waitress. “Think she’d go for me?”

Annoyance prickles at me. “Not even for a minute.”

“You have no faith in me, old man.”

I finally turn to face Lee. “You’re late.”

“Couldn’t find the place.” Lee looks around the bar, his nose crinkling in distaste. “This is where you wanted to meet?”

I guess I can see where Lee is coming from. The Purple Cat does seem a little…odd. Though it definitely has a beachy vibe to it, little about the place fits in with the sleek Malibu neighborhood where it’s located. With its teak furniture, the turquoise and pink paint, bright paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling, and garish colored tin flamingos and dolphins hanging on the walls, it feels more like a kitschy Florida beach bar, the kind of place in which you might expect to hear an overabundance of Jimmy Buffett blaring from the speakers.

“It’s half a block from my condo,” I point out.

“Well, I guess if they have cold beer I’m not complaining.” Lee grins as the waitress approaches again, my drink in her hand. “Hey, gorgeous. How’re you doing tonight?”

She settles a flat expression on him. “Pretty tired, actually,” she says, sliding me my whiskey. “I’ve been busy castrating all the slime ball creeps who think they can hit on me.”

I snort as Lee’s eyes go wide with surprise and something that looks a lot like fear. This lady is definitely more than he bargained for.

“Please ignore him,” I tell the waitress. “They don’t usually let him out of the zoo.”

She shoots me a quick smile before turning back to Lee and it’s almost as if the room tilts, suddenly. Damn. That’s some smile. “What are you drinking, zoo boy?”

“Miller,” he mumbles.

“I’ve got Bud,” she says, already moving off to get the beer, not bothering to wait for him to agree.

“I like her,” Lee says under his breath. “Why do I always like the ones who are mean to me?”

“Because you subconsciously feel guilty for the way you treat women and you think you should be punished?” I suggest.

Lee makes a face at me. “God, you’re probably right. Still, she’s pretty hot…”

His voice trails off as the waitress returns, and I smirk. Lee is obviously afraid of her. And as I let my eyes settle on her no-nonsense expression, I can’t really blame him.

“You guys want food?” she asks, leaning against the bar, her hip jutting out to her side. I struggle to keep my eyes off that curve. “Burgers here are pretty good.”

“Burgers would be great,” I say, picking up my drink as I slide off the stool. I nod towards one of the booths at the back of the room. We’re going to need some privacy for this conversation. And I’m starting to think I could use some space from the increasingly distracting waitress. “We’ll be back there.”

“Gill,” she bellows over her shoulder. “Two burgers and fries.”

“You got any turkey burgers?” Lee asks, patting his stomach. “Trying to watch the old figure.” The waitress crosses her arms, looking at him, and Lee clears his throat. “Or, you know, whatever you have will be fine.”

“They’ll be out in a minute,” she says, turning away to wipe the counter. I’m still laughing at him when we reach the booth.

“I like her too,” I tell my friend. “I like how she doesn’t take your shit.”

“Whatever,” Lee says, sliding into the booth. “You want to hear this or not?”

I take a long drink of my whiskey, having the feeling I’m going to need it. “I want to hear it.”

Lee leans across the table, his face uncharacteristically grim. “They’re not happy.”

I scowl. “Shit, Lee, I knew that.”

Lee holds my gaze. “I think you guys need to lawyer up, Will.”

My stomach sinks. I’d been hoping it wouldn’t come to that. “Tell me.”

So my old friend—and inside source at the band’s record label—lays it out for me. The suits are pissed, and rightly so. They’re out a ton of money on the canceled world tour, and the band’s refusal to even talk about rescheduling is not helping to soothe the anger.

“They understood about altering the schedule after Lennon’s accident,” Lee says, not meeting my eye. There’s a pang in my chest at the word accident, like always, but I push it aside. I can’t let myself go down that road right now. “They felt like the limited Europe tour was a good compromise at the time. But the plan was always to get on the road for a full tour after that. And now they’re not hearing anything from your end…they’re talking about protecting their investment. And that means lawyers and contract fights and all that nasty stuff.”

I release a breath, leaning back in the booth. I obviously knew the label was upset—Ransom is currently in breach of contract, and everyone takes that shit pretty seriously. But I’d hoped that between me and Lee we’d be able to hold them off for the foreseeable future. At least until things are more settled.

“I’m assuming,” Lee says, his tone cautious, “that you guys haven’t discussed touring lately?”

I could have laughed. The thought of approaching the band with plans for a tour is ridiculous. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be getting out of that particular meeting without broken bones.

“I’ll take that as a no,” Lee says, watching my face. “Do the boys even know anything about this?”

“No,” I say sharply. “And I want to keep it that way. They have…there’s enough on their plates right now, okay?”

Lee is quiet for a moment. He doesn’t know all the details of what happened with the Ransome family over the last few months, but he knows enough not to push. “Look, there’s one thing I can think of that might pacify them,” he says, and from his expression I can tell that I’m not going to like hearing whatever he has to say.

The waitress appears at our table then, two plates in her hand, and Lee beams up at her with what he clearly thinks is an enticing grin. “He doesn’t give up, does he?” she asks me, setting our plates down.

“Hardly ever,” I say, surprised to find that I’m smiling at her in spite of the way my stomach is still churning from the contract talk. “It’s kind of sad, really.”

“Pathetic,” she agrees. “You guys need anything else?”

“We’re good.”

She nods once and heads back to the bar, both of us watching as she walks away. I manage to pull my attention away first, snapping my fingers in front of Lee’s eyes. “You were saying?”

Lee shakes his head, as if trying to clear it—there really is something about that waitress—and reaches for his burger. “Tommy was floating the idea of a residency.”

What?” Half the patrons in the bar turn to us at the sound of my outraged cry.

Lee rolls his eyes. “Just listen.”

“They’re not doing a residency,” I snap. “What the hell, Lee? You think I’m going to let them end up in some Vegas dive like a bunch of washed up lounge singers?”

“No one said anything about Vegas,” Lee says calmly. “Though I should point out that entire scene has changed, Will. These pop stars that have set up shop down there are top of the game, you know? We’re talking tens of millions of dollars. Britney Spears, Lady Gaga—”

“Ransom aren’t pop stars,” I growl.

Lee holds up his hand. “Fine. But, again, we’re not talking Vegas. I’m just saying, residency is a viable option for top-tier talent. Springsteen is doing several months in New York, you know. And Billy Joel is doing the same at Madison Square Garden. We’re talking dozens of shows.”

I rub my chin. “Would it have to be New York?”

“Not necessarily. LA would probably be an option. Couple years ago Prince set up at the Forum for twenty-one shows. The band becomes the destination, you know? And Ransom has the pull to fill a stadium for an extended run.” Lee’s eyes drift down to the table. “Either way, there’s talk about tying it into a special.”

“We’ve recorded concerts before,” I point out.

Lee still doesn’t meet my eyes. “They were thinking some behind-the-scenes stuff—”

“No reality show,” I bark.

“Not a reality show,” Lee says quickly. “More like…a documentary. A full on Ransom special. This could be big bucks, Will. That would appease the label. They have some interest from HBO and Netflix…”

I give him a sharp look. “They’re that far ahead in the planning and they haven’t talked to me yet?”

Lee sighs. “They’re talking to you now. I didn’t come here out of the goodness of my heart, buddy.”

I shake my head. “They sent you.”

Lee offers a weak smile. “Sorry I didn’t tell you earlier. I wanted to get a sense of where you were before you put on that dealing-with-the-label front you’re so good at.”

I suppose I can’t blame the guy. I have a reputation as a hard-ass when it comes to this stuff. But it’s always been my job to stand up for my kids, to get the best for them. And that’s stillmy job, even now. Even if none of them want to talk to me.

I release a sigh, rubbing at my forehead. I always seem to have a headache lately. “Just talk to them,” Lee says. “They’re smart boys. You know they don’t wantto be in breach of contract.”

They don’t even know they are, I think.

Lee’s still talking. “This would get them off the hook and still let them be settled somewhere, right? Isn’t that what this is all about? You told me they needed a little consistency.”

“I said they needed a break.”

Lee shrugs. “A string of concerts in the same place sounds like a break to me. They won’t have to be on a bus. No airplanes. They can sleep in the same bed every night, get to know one city. Doesn’t seem too bad.”

There was a time when the boys probably would have jumped at the chance to perform in one place for an extended period of time. But that was before everything got so fucked up. Now I don’t know if they’ll be willing to play a single show. Just look at their TV performance tonight—they’re pissed and they’re tired and playing music is the last thing on any of their minds.

“Will.” Lee sets down his burger. “Tell them what’s going on. See what they say.” He waits until I make eye contact. “But you should do it soon, because the big guys are going to want to bring it up during the conference call.”

I release a breath. Less than two weeks. Great. Plenty of time to get my kids to forgive me for lying to them about their mother for their entire lives and putting their brother’s life in danger. Sure.

“I will,” I tell Lee.

He seems more relieved than I would have thought and I wonder just how angry the label actually is. We both turn our attention to our burgers, not talking while we eat. I have no clue how I’m going to get my boys in the same room as me. Lennon will be the easiest, I figure. Maybe Daltrey, too. But I have a feeling Reed will flat out refuse.

Maybe I can get Levi to talk to them, I think bitterly.

“Hey,” Lee says suddenly, dropping his burger. “I totally forgot to ask—how’s the baby, gramps?”

“Gramps, eh?”

I look up to see the waitress returning with fresh drinks, one eyebrow raised, a smirk on her face. I’m not sure if I should be annoyed at Lee for letting that detail fly in front of the very attractive woman—or if I should be grateful that she’s chosen this moment to approach. Because now maybe I won’t have to admit to my old friend that I haven’t seen my granddaughter since she went home from the hospital.

“This old man?” Lee asks, grinning at her. “Of course he’s a grandfather. He whittles wood on the front porch and yells at the kids to keep it down and everything.”

The waitress hands me my drink, meeting my gaze as she smiles. “Funny. I wouldn’t say you look anywhere near old enough to be a grandfather.”

There’s something in her tone, something almost flirtatious, that I find I like very much. Even more than I like the sullen expression on Lee’s face—he still isn’t on her good side.

“The baby is only a few months old,” I tell her.

She puts her hands on her hips. “Well? Do I get to see this baby or not?”

I grab my phone from my pocket, pulling up a close-up photo of Rose in the hospital, trying not to think about how long ago that was. The waitress leans over my shoulder to look and I catch a whiff of her perfume, something flowery, almost delicate, the last thing I would have expected from this take-no-prisoners chick. Somehow that makes me like it even more.

“Aww,” she says, looking down at the picture. “What a sweetie. Name?”

“Rose.”

She looks over at me, her face very close in this position, and narrows her eyes a little. “I can see the resemblance, gramps.”

I’m finding it kind of hard to breathe with her this close, and I wonder what in the hell is wrong with me. I’m way too old to be getting breathless over a woman.

“Look at that hair,” she’s looking at the photo again. “Babies don’t usually have so much, you know.”

My eyes go back to the photo, that familiar stab of pain shooting through my chest. “She looks like her dad,” I murmur. “He had the exact same hair when he was a baby.” I can still see Daltrey the day he was born, the image burned into my brain. That shock of white hair, so much like Reed’s. I’d brought all the boys up to the hospital to see their little brother, lining them up in a love seat, placing the baby in Reed’s arms. Daltrey had cried, tiny Lennon covering his ears, while Reed sat stock-still, like he was afraid to move. Cash just looked bored.

“Looks like you’ve got a lot to be proud of,” Ruby says. And then she’s placing her hand on my shoulder, the pressure soft and gentle, and I have the strangest thought that she could somehow hear the pain in my words.

“Yeah,” I mumble, putting the phone back in my pocket while she straightens.

“Better get back to it,” she says. “Enjoy the rest of your food.”

As she leaves, I sense Lee’s eyes on me. “You okay?”

“Fine,” I say, reaching for my burger.

“Will—”

“It’s fine. Look, I’ll talk to the boys, okay? I’m not promising they’ll go for it, but I’ll talk to them.”

Lee grins as he grabs the last fry off my plate. “You’ve always been able to convince those boys of anything.”

And that,I think morosely, no longer at all hungry, is exactly the problem.

***