Casablanca Christmas Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: Joanne Kennedy

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Joanne Kennedy, part of Casablanca’s Christmas Spotlight Tour this week. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win the 2020 Casablanca Christmas bundle.

There’s no place like home…

Weary from a long deployment, Griff Bailey has been dreaming of a quiet Christmas on his father’s ranch. But all his hopes of peace are upended when he finds his one-time fling, Riley James, has moved in.

Riley swore off dark, dangerous men a long time ago, but Griff’s emotional scars pull at her heartstrings, and she desperately wants to help him heal despite their complicated past.

It’ll take a miracle for these two stubborn former lovers to open themselves up again, but isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

Enjoy an Excerpt

The snow globe on the dashboard rocked and sloshed as Griff Bailey’s Jeep dropped off the pavement onto the dirt road that led to his father’s ranch. The music-­box base tinkled out a few hesitant notes, but they were lost in the racket of icy flakes clattering on the windshield.
Griff had picked up the globe at an airport gift shop, remembering how his sister loved Christmas kitsch. He’d set it on the dashboard in an effort to inspire his own Christmas spirit, but it was just making him sad. There was Santa, the most senior of senior citizens, frozen forever with one foot in a chimney and a heavy pack slung over one shoulder while phony snowflakes swirled around him. It was obvious the bag wasn’t going to fit down the chute, and the jaunty, tinkling rendition of “Here Comes Santa Claus” was just plain rude. This Santa wasn’t going anywhere.

Neither was Griff, in the long run. Like Santa, he’d flown halfway around the world only to find his life shaken and stirred by unseen forces.

As the wipers thwacked out their restless rhythm, he saw a light burning in the distance.
Almost home.

He was surprised to find his heart lifting at the thought. His sole ambition from boyhood had been to escape the everyday sameness of ranch life, with its early mornings, late nights, and chores that were never done well enough, soon enough, or fast enough.

So why was he coming home?

Simple. The last place he wanted to go was now the only place that would have him.
At least, he thought they would. As far as his family knew, he was still deployed. His dad and stepmom were on an RV trip in the Southwest, while his sister was honeymooning in California. He wasn’t sure how long they’d be gone, but he was hoping for a couple weeks of solitude so he could shake off the dark memories that had smudged his bright military future. Bit by bit, day by day, he would become the man he’d been before.

Before what?

Ghosts of the past rattled their chains in the back of his brain, threatening to rise and walk, but he knocked his head with the heel of his hand and sent them skittering back to their caves. He’d deal with them later. Right now, he needed to concentrate on the road.

As he nudged the Jeep around an icy curve, he laid eyes on his father’s house for the first time in four years—­and slammed on the brakes, sliding sideways, feeling the tug of a snowdrift hauling him into the ditch. White-­knuckling the wheel, he spun right, then left, and lurched to a sudden stop that slammed his chest against the shoulder harness.

Breathing hard, he stared at his childhood home. He’d expected to feel reluctance, nostalgia, even a surge of relief at the sight of it—­but all he felt was shock.

The entire front wall of the house was demolished, with beams and boards scattered like matchsticks in the snow. He might not be a fan of ranch life, but the Diamond Jack was the one safe, unchanging place in his world. And it had exploded.

Unbuckling, he opened the door and fell to his knees. A low buzzing began inside him, blind bees bumbling for a way out. They were with him every day, simmering beneath any emotion he dared to feel, pushing for release in a roar of rage, a howl of fear, a savage strike at something, anything. But releasing them would make the outside world match the darkness inside him, so he held them in.

The docs ought to give him some credit for that. They ought to let him go back. They would if he could control it, so he followed their advice.


As he drank in the cold air, the buzzing faded and died.

Surprised, oddly empty, he rose to his feet and trudged toward the house through snow up to his thighs. It was slow going, but that gave him time to assess the situation.

There were lights on in the upstairs bathroom, his sister’s bedroom, and the kitchen. That was all wrong. Nobody was supposed to be home. And what was that weird shape in the wreckage? Had it moved?

Holy crap. What is that?

It looked like an animal—­one with beaming yellow eyes that reflected the Jeep’s headlights. Had he started hallucinating now?

Apparently not. The creature proved itself disturbingly real by launching itself from the wreckage and loping toward him with an awkward, lolloping gait. Feet like paddles flung snow all around, and its drooling jowls flapped as it ran, revealing long, white teeth that gleamed in the starlight. Those teeth were the last thing he saw before it leapt up and knocked him to the ground.

Pressing Griff’s shoulders into the snow with paws the size of dinner plates, the beast dripped a cold string of drool onto his cheek as its amber eyes burned into his with a passion for…
For pats, probably. Because it was just a dog. A big, weird-­looking dog, but a friendly one. As a goofy grin spread across its slobbery face, Griff heaved it off his chest.

“Who the heck are you?”

The dog sat back and presented its paw as if introducing itself. Confused, Griff shook it, glancing around, and noticed a pickup in front of the barn.

“Shoot,” he mumbled. “I didn’t think there’d be anybody here.”

The dog shimmied close and leaned hard against him, tossing its head back and almost clonking Griff in the nose. It gazed adoringly into his face, and he suddenly felt better than he had in a year.

It might be nice to have a dog around. Trouble was, dogs generally came with people, and he wasn’t ready for people.

About the Author: Joanne Kennedy is the RITA-nominated author of ten contemporary Western romance novels. The first book in her Decker Ranch trilogy, How to Handle a Cowboy, was named one of Booklist’s “Best Romances of the Decade.” She lives with her retired fighter pilot husband in a secret mountain hideout on the Wyoming border.


Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBook, Kobo, Bookshop, Amazon, or Walmart

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Blue Sky Cowboys by Joanne Kennedy – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Joanne Kennedy who is celebrating the recent release of Cowboy Summer, the first book in her brand-new Blue Sky Cowboys series. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of the book.

Jess Bailey broke Cade Walker’s heart when she left for the city—but she was just trying to find her own way in the world. When Jess’s dad calls her home and tells her he’s selling the ranch, she realizes she’s about to lose the life she was born to live. And when she sees Cade again, she knows how much she’s lost already.

As their nearest neighbor, Cade is always trying to help. But he’s got his own ranch and his horse training business to think about. Even though his heart fills with hope for a second chance when he sees Jess, she left him once when things got tough. And she knows he moved on without her.

As the sale of the Bailey ranch looms over them, Jess and Cade start looking to the future. But can they ever trust one another again?

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Stepping out of the car, Jess clutched her hair as the Wyoming wind slapped her upside the head, flinging grit that stung her skin. Some people might have gotten back in the car and hightailed it for someplace more hospitable, but Jess was a Wyoming girl, accustomed to winds so strong they often overturned semis on the interstate.

Gathering her curls in one hand, she shaded her eyes with the other and sipped a long, slow drink of home. All the empty places inside her filled with peace and pleasure, as if she’d downed a whole pitcher full of blue skies garnished with wildflowers and sunshine.

A friendly voice hailed her from a rusty flatbed parked by the barn. Painted letters on the driver’s door, nearly obscured by rust and flaking paint, read “Jeb Jo son Hay & Fe d.”

“Hey, Jeb!”

Jeb Johnson had been working with her dad since Jess was knee-high. Racing to the truck, she hopped on the running board and reached through the open window to drag his weathered face to hers and lay a smooch on his grizzled cheek.
He reached up and touched his face with shy reverence. “Oh, girlie, it’s good you’ve come home.” His eyes, normally bright with mischief, were glossy with—could that be tears? “They need you ‘round here. Cade…”

Jess didn’t want to talk about Cade. “I need them, too. My dad, I mean. And you.” Grabbing the steering wheel for support, she popped up on tiptoe and peered inside the cab. “Got snips?”

Since she’d been a little girl, Jeb had made a game of letting her choose which wire to cut. If she chose the right spot, the bales would tumble safely off the far side of the truck. Choose wrong, and they’d tumble all around her, bouncing to the ground like giant hairy hailstones. But she needed snips to play.

“Forgot ‘em at the last place.” He nodded toward the barn. “He went in to grab some.”

“Oh, good. I’ll surprise him.”

Heading for the barn, she hugged herself with glee. Her dad, stepping out of the dark tool room, would be blinded by the sunlight. She’d surprise him, all right.

Jeb called after her. “Now honey, I’m not sure…”

Shushing him, she pressed her back to the sun-warmed barn. The paint would rub off on her shorts, but a barn-red butt was a small price to pay for scaring her dad into one of his creative cussing streaks.

She heard the rasp of wood on wood, then bang—a drawer slammed shut. Tensing, she tightened her smile to restrain the laugh trapped high in her chest.

Footsteps hit the hollow floor, approaching the door. She counted.

Five, four, three, two…


With a crazed coyote howl, she leapt for the shadowy form in the doorway, knowing with giddy certainty her daddy would catch her, like he always did.

The wire cutters rattled to the ground, and a masculine grunt greeted the impact of her body.

She was caught, all right. The only trouble was, that wasn’t her father’s grunt. It wasn’t his body, either.
It was Cade Walker’s.


Cade had pictured his reunion with Jess waking, and he’d pictured it in dreams. He’d pictured it happy, and he’d pictured it hard. But he’d never pictured it quite like this.

Momentarily blinded when he stepped out of the dim barn, he was shocked, even scared, when a howling bundle of womanhood slammed into his chest. He’d almost pushed Jess away—but then she’d kissed him.

It was a family kind of kiss, not a romantic one, and it landed on his cheek instead of the other body parts that would have been happy to host it. But it was still a kiss from Jess, and that made it electrifying. He caught the familiar scent of her—grass and flowers, summer sun and peaches—and his heart sailed away on an ocean of happy memories.

But the seas were choppy. She was fighting him like a cat in a bathtub.


He couldn’t. For one thing, he needed to look at her—just drink her in like a tonic that warmed his heart, plus a whole lot of other body parts. Jess wasn’t a classic beauty, being taller and stronger than most movie-star types. But with her wild blonde curls tumbling down her back, her blue eyes sparkling with energy, and her lithe, fit body warm and strong in his hands, she’d always been his feminine ideal.

She managed to wrench herself away, but he kept his grip on one firm thigh. The ground sloped steeply to the rocky drive, and she’d fall if he didn’t hang on.

Floundering for balance, she hopped madly down the slope.

“Let go,” she snarled, slapping his arm. “I thought you were my dad. Let me go!”

She always reminded him of some sort of wild critter. Usually, it was something sweet, like a rabbit or a deer. But there were times she was a cat—slinky, smooth, and lovely to look at, but all claws and teeth if you got too close.
This was one of those times, and he was apparently way too close.

Excerpted from Cowboy Summer by Joanne Kennedy. © 2019 by Joanne Kennedy. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author: Joanne Kennedy is the RITA-nominated author of ten contemporary Western romance novels. The first book in her Decker Ranch Trilogy, How to Handle a Cowboy, was named one of Booklist’s “Best Romances of the Decade.” She lives near Cheyenne, Wyoming. Joanne loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website.


Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, or IndieBound.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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