Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Hometown Series Tour and Giveaway

Hometown Girl at Heart
Hometown Series Book 1
by Kirsten Fullmer
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Tara has always been too engrossed in her work - refurbishing the historical homes in Smithville. She keeps a tight rein on her jobs and her emotions buried, but she’s losing control of both since that ridiculous city boy investor showed up.

New in town, Justin is confident that his ultra modern resorts will bring Smithville into the twenty-first century. If only the local-yokels and their ringleader, the gorgeous and peculiar Tara, would stop interfering.

With her quirky and protective hometown behind her, will Tara confront Justin and the town’s long buried secrets to take on the financial and emotional risk of a lifetime?

Justin whistled through his teeth to get the crew’s attention. When all eyes were on him, he glanced down at his clipboard.
“Okay guys, looks like we’ve got our work cut out for us. To meet the delivery schedule for concrete, we need to gut this entire house today, if possible, and tomorrow we need to start on the barn.”
Heads nodded in understanding.
“I want to leave the floors in this room for last, so we can haul out the garbage without stepping on nails—”
“This floor?” Tara interrupted.
Thrown off his groove, he turned to her. “Yes, this floor last, so we can haul stuff out through the front door.”
“None of the floors are going to be torn out.” She stated the fact with some concern over the misunderstanding.
His clipboard dropped to his side. “What are you talking about? This whole house is getting new floors to match the additions.”
She glanced from Justin to the crew and back. “Oh, okay, just take them out carefully then and I’ll haul them away tonight.” She smiled.
His hand plopped on his hip. “We don’t have time to take up each board with kid gloves, Tara. This demo has to be done today.”
The color drained from her face. “You don’t mean you plan to hack them up and yank them out—”
“That’s exactly what I mean. Can we talk about this after the meeting please?”
She nodded blankly.
He cleared his throat and lifted the clipboard. “Okay, let’s see here, floors...” He pointed at three men. “You three will tear out everything in the kitchen and—”
All heads turned to Tara. She raised her hands in question.
Justin glared at her. “Yes everything.” His expression clearly conveyed that she’d better not say another word.
She shrunk visibly under his glare but couldn’t help herself. “The cabinets are good—”
The crew’s heads swung back to Justin.

She glanced from the crew to Justin. “You can’t tear up perfectly good cabinets. I’ll—”
The crews heads bobbed back to Tara.

“Can I continue my meeting please?” Justin huffed, getting the guy’s attention once again.
Tara tossed her hands in the air, extended her arm out, palm up, to indicate he had the floor, and then folded her arms.
He tossed her a dirty look and raised his clipboard. “Bob and
Steve, I want you guys to start on the windows. I need them all torn out before—”
“Not the windows too!”
Once again, the crew turned back to Tara.
With his jaw clenched, Justin pointed toward the kitchen. “Can I talk to you for a moment please?” He stomped in that direction, not waiting for her answer.
Tara shrugged toward the guys, and followed him.
He paced to the far end of the room and waited for her. His teeth clenched, he raised his index finger. “How dare you question me like that in front of my crew?”
Her head jerked back. “Your crew? Most of those guys have worked for me for years!”
“That’s beside the point, you have wasted twenty minutes of our time already with your tantrums.”
Her mouth fell open. “Tantrums? Tantrums!
He continued his rant; his voice raising. “We have a very tight schedule and I can’t waste time pulling each nail, one at a time, so you can save every damn board.”
Tara snapped. With both hands on his chest, she gave him a push toward the corner. “I did not throw a tantrum!”
He opened his mouth to reply and she pushed him again. “You may think I’m a trashy, no-good, piece of crap now that you know where I came from, but I’d like to remind you that I have run a successful remodel business with those guys...” she pointed over her shoulder, “for years, before you came to town.”
The color drained from his face and he reached for her but she pushed him one more time; his back to the corner.
“And if you don’t want to take a day to salvage the items on this property, then I will charge you for every damn piece we use from my supplies!”
Stunned by the comment that he thought she was trash, he couldn’t even assimilate the announcement that his profit margin had just dropped by thousands.
She leaned into his face to continue. “You may not want me any more but you are stuck with me for the duration of this project, so you’re going to have to find a way to work with me!”
Her final retort tore him to the quick. He stared at her as she glared into his eyes. His breath hitched in his throat. Finally he choked out a reply. “Is that what you think of me?”
Shocked to see the fire back in Justin’s eyes, regardless of his words, her mouth popped open and closed like a fish. Her voice was soft, almost indiscernible. “You’ve made it perfectly clear that your opinion of me has changed. I just want to make as much profit as possible on this project.”
His mouth still open, he stared at her, wordless, as her eyes filled with tears. She turned to run and he grabbed her arm, and pulled her to his chest. “God you make me crazy...”
She realized he was going to kiss her just before his lips touched hers. This time she didn’t stiffen in his arms or try to
pull away – she wanted to touch him, feel him against her. She hesitated for a fraction of a second, then melted into his arms. Warmth flowed from him and into her like a waterfall, releasing an overwhelming but tender fluttering in her chest.
With his hands on her upper arms, he tore his mouth from hers and pushed her to arms’ length. Both their chests heaved as their eyes met. Her eyes were soft and dreamy with an emotion he’d never seen there before.
He touched her cheek with the back of his finger, his eyes dark and miserable. “This isn’t right, I can’t do this to you. Sorry Tara, I’m so sorry.” He gazed one last moment into her shocked eyes, then released her to lean limply against the counter as he stomped back to the living room.

Hometown Girl After All
Hometown Series Book 2

Julia lost everything while she was ill. Self-conscious and alone, she’s moved to Smithville, determined to hide away in her rundown Victorian house. Little does she know, she can’t hide anything in a small town, including her interest in the deliveryman. 

Resolved to keep his life simple, Chad has his hands full running his delivery business and supporting his adopted family. So why can’t he get that withdrawn city girl, Julia, off his mind?

Will the eccentric but well-meaning Smithville folk push Julia and Chad to open up, or will the emotional toll drive them both back into seclusion?

Ordering Bobby to move toward the wall, Chad set his end of the heavy hutch down and eased it into standing position. “This thing weighs a ton,” he groaned, rubbing his back.
Bobby flopped back against the wall, his chest heaving and eyes bugging.
Glancing back and forth between the kitchen and the hutch, Julia frowned. “Do you think this will work?”
Chad brushed his hands together. “Will what work?”
Reluctant but with no one to ask, Julia waved for him to follow and wandered into the kitchen, Ringo at her feet. “I bought those two hutches to put on either side of the sink,” she said over her shoulder, “but the sink needs to be moved under the window.”
Trailing behind her, Chad stopped in the center of the kitchen. She continued toward the old sink and ratty broken cabinets. He glanced from the sink to the window. “You’re not going to put in new cabinets and counter tops?”
“I don’t think so...” Julia answered, deep in thought, purposely keeping her gaze from Chad as much as possible.
He walked in a circle, critically surveying the sink, then stared at the wall with a window. “I’m not sure the sink and both those hutches will fit along this wall.”
Julia winced, her eyes finally settling on his face. “Yeah, I should have measured before I bought them.”
“Don’t panic yet,” Chad muttered as he unclipped the tape measure off his belt. With an efficient whir and a click, the tape spread along the floor from wall to wall. “Let’s see, looks like twelve-foot, one and a half clearance from base board to base board,” he mumbled, rewinding half the tape.
He moved to the sink and Julia scuttled out of his way, as if to avoid the masculine force field he emanated into the room. He stretched the tape across the length of the ancient piece of porcelain and bent to get a closer look. “Almost thirty-six inches.”
The tape retracted with a snap. He crossed his arms across his chest and stared at the stained grooves of the drain board. One calloused hand reached out to test the old fashioned hot and cold taps with X-shaped handles. “You really want to keep this dirty old thing? I’m sure you could get a good deal on a nice new one...”
Julia wandered back to the sink, her eyes riveted on Chad’s hand, but she ran her fingers along the curved front edge.“ Well, not the broken cupboards but I’m keeping the sink. Becky says it will clean up and I like it; it fits the house.”
His brows rose. “Okay then,” he said with a shrug, “let’s see how wide that hutch is.” He turned and strode back to the living room, Ringo following at his heels.
Her steps dragging, enjoying the help far more than she should and lost in confusing notions about Chad, Julia followed behind him. Giving herself a mental shake, she told herself to pull it together because she required his strength, knowledge, and no-nonsense approach to the project. After all, she certainly had no idea where to start the kitchen reno.
Pulling out the tape, Chad measured across the width then the height of the hutch, then walked past Julia toward the kitchen. She followed, forcing herself to focus only on the furniture.
When she got back to the kitchen, Chad held the tape propped in front of him at hip level with one hand, the yellow steel kinked out and extended to measure along the wall.
His stance was purely male, bringing a completely different visual to Julia’s mind, and it didn’t involve a tape measure.
He glanced up at her then did a double take at her expression. His eyebrows rose a fraction of an inch in question, as if he could hear her hormones screaming.
Embarrassed to be caught with her hand in the proverbial cookie jar, Julia straightened her spine and met his gaze, her chin high, her eyes cool.
As if slapped, the tape measure crinkled to the floor with a clatter and Chad tore his bewildered gaze away from Julia. Shifting his feet to get back on track, he gave the tape a few expert flips and kinks and measured from floor to ceiling and then from the corner of the room to the center of the window.
Feeling surprisingly wretched over dousing the warmth in his eyes when he was just trying to help, Julia retreated a step, rubbing her forehead with her fingertips.
Holding the tape in place again with his hip cocked, trying to explain further, Chad turned to Julia. “As you can see, it’s five-foot six to the center of the window and the sink is thirty-six inches wide. If you divide the sink by half, then the hutch can’t be wider than forty-eight inches or your sink won’t be centered under the window. Problem is, that hutch is just over four foot four.” He gazed at her expectantly, waiting, the tape extending from his hip to the wall, twitching slightly, his expression one of concentration.
Silence filled the room as Julia struggled to focus on Chad’s words, not the stiff steel tape extending across the room from his crotch.
Embarrassed and flustered, Julia licked her lips, then shook her head, once again reining herself in.
His brow lifted, as if he knew she was sexually addled, but had no idea what her problem was.
Awkwardly, she glanced toward the window, then back to Chad. Withdrawing mentally and scolding herself, she attempting to break the spell, but failed miserably. A spark of surprised interest glittered in his eye when their gaze clashed, and that catalyst pushed Julia over the edge. She raised her chin, shuttering her expression once again.
Chad’s presence darkened at her blatant dismissal and the tape measure whirred and clattered back up into the roll in his hand; the connection between them abruptly severed.

Hometown Girl Forever
Hometown Series Book 3

Lizzie gave up her stressful job in Boston to embrace her love of all things country in Smithville PA. Her farm, a new job at the spa, and her pet alpacas are a dream come true, if only her meddling, matchmaking, socialite mother would back off.

Elliot, a successful architect from Washington, DC, designed the new spa, but he certainly hadn't envisioned the exotic bohemian style manager or her intriguing, demanding mother. Small town antics and his interest in Lizzie extend his visit to Smithville, but will the allure of country life draw him in for good?

Once again, Smithville’s folk interfere with plans at every turn, forcing Lizzie and Elliot to face their personal dilemmas and each other, head on.

The spa door opened and Elliot tromped in, scuffing his feet on the mat. “Hey there! Looks like today was a success...” He froze in midsentence, his smile fading to concern. “What’s wrong?”
Dashing away her tears, Lizzie jumped up and attempted to hide her sadness. “Nothing, I’m fine. I...” She smoothed her lab coat and offered a limp grin to accompany the false happy tone of her voice. “I think today went well.”
Elliot strode to her side and took her hand, his face filled with concern. He led her gently to sit down on the sofa. “What happened?” he asked as he perched on the edge of the ottoman facing her.
She pulled her hand away and shook her head in an attempt to convince him she was fine, but her mother’s harsh words rang in the back of her mind. Tears gathered at the corners of her eyes and she dabbed at them with her knuckle.
“Did someone have an issue with the spa?”
She shook her head. “No, no, of course not. It was a wonderful day.”
Elliot’s brow puckered. “Then why are you so upset? Something happened.”
Lizzie shrugged. “It’s nothing really. Nothing I don’t deal with every day.”
He waited, his elbows resting on his knees, not wanting to press her to speak.
Finally she sniffed and squared her shoulders. “I’m sorry, here I am all blubbery when the spa was a hit.”
He searched her face, waiting for her to explain.
Fluttering her hands in front of her face, attempting to dry the tears, she continued. “Oh, it’s just—just my mom. She isn’t on board with me being here...” Understatement of the century, she thought grimly.
Perplexed, Elliot sat up straight. “What do you mean? Why would your mother care if you’re here?”
Lizzie snorted. “Oh, she cares all right.” Anger flashed across her face. “I’m not back home letting her run my life and that irks her no end. She has to get her digs in, make me feel like absolute garbage...” She paused, realizing she was emotionally vomiting.
“I take it she’s, what do they call it nowadays, a helicopter mom?”
She stared at him, a question in her eyes.
“She hovers...”
“Oh!” she said, getting his joke. “Yes, but more than that, she is determined that I live the life she wanted.”

“What do you mean?”

Her hands twisted in her lap. “Oh, you know, I went to the schools she couldn’t get into, wore the expensive clothes that she couldn’t afford before having me ruined her body, took the jobs she couldn’t have because she had to stay home with me. I had to buy the condo in the neighborhood she wanted to live in...”
Elliot grimaced.
“I always knew I had to toe the line or things would get ugly, but...”
He waited for her to continue, but the lump in her throat was choking her. “But?” he offered.
She sniffed and shrugged one shoulder. “Today was the straw that broke the camel’s back, I guess. She’s never going to be proud of me. Never.”
Unsure what to say, he stammered, “I’m sorry. You’ve done a great job with the spa.”
Suddenly embarrassed and overwhelmed that she’d fallen to pieces in front of Elliot, Lizzie struggled to collect herself. “Anyway, I’m okay now, really.” She stood, desperate to end the whole emotional scene.
Elliot stood too, putting them face to face. Or her face to his chest, as it were. A moment slipped by without either moving, both held by an invisible magnetic force. Slowly Lizzie’s head tilted back, and Elliot’s chin lowered. Their eyes met, his sizzling with concern and warmth, hers still teary and bright. His fingers skimmed softly up her arm, raising goose bumps that raced up Lizzie’s chest and neck and across her scalp. The backs of his fingers continued on up to brush her cheek, wiping away a shimmering tear trail. Then, ever so slowly, both of his palms framed her cheeks, tilting her face to his.
Lizzie’s hands came up to cover his, her eyes drifting closed as she rose up on tiptoe. A soft sigh escaped her lips as she fell into what she knew would be an epic kiss.
The spa door flew open and Tara clattered in, her arms full of boxes. “Hey guys, I was...” When she saw Lizzie and Elliot she jerked to a halt, nearly dropping the packages in shock.
Elliot and Lizzie jumped in shock, each trying to jolt back
but tripping over the sofa and ottoman. Finally Elliot managed to stumble away, momentarily resembling a kid staggering on stilts as he found his balance. Lizzie flopped limply onto the sofa and her eyes rolled toward the ceiling.
Tara cleared her throat. “Well crap. Sorry... I...”
Lizzie shook her head, lamenting the great impression she must be making on her new boss.

Christmas in Smithville
The Hometown Series Book 4

Even though Gloria is determined to change her reputation, most of the women in town still think she’s a tramp. Sure, she may have dressed a little flashy and dated pretty much every single guy in town, but that’s the past. Now that she wants to make a fresh start, will Smithville give her a second chance? 

Ned has heard all the gossip, but being the Sheriff’s Deputy, he sees all the kind things Gloria does behind the scenes for the folks of Smithville. It looks like the upcoming Christmas Pageant will offer him the opportunity to spend time with her, but can he overcome a frustrating stutter and talk to her, face to face? 

Your favorite characters from the Hometown Series bring craziness, love, and Smithville Christmas style, to a whole new romance about overcoming your past and sharing your deepest secrets. Fall in love and be swept away with the Christmas Eve celebration of your dreams.

Tara stepped off the deck and put her arm through his. “Good morning, curious to see your spa?” She smiled, waiting for him to respond.
“Who—who are all these people?” he stuttered.
Seemingly shocked by his reaction to the throng of moving bodies, Tara glanced to the left and right. “Oh, these are our friends. They came to help set up.”
Elliot nodded weakly. In his experience, set-up days for a new spa consisted of moody and emotional designers fluttering their hands and issuing orders to a uniformed group of workers who moved quietly through the space murmuring amongst themselves as they rolled out rugs or shifted furniture to the left or right. The scene spread before him resembled a county fair more than a spa being readied for business.
Tara directed him toward the old woman at the station wagon. “Elliot, I’d like you to meet Winnie,” she said with love in her eyes as she hugged the woman with her other arm. “She is the one responsible for how I turned out, and she runs my remodel and real-estate business now.” She motioned toward the seated woman. “And this is Mrs. Middlewood.”
The large woman bobbed her head in greeting.
The old lady, Winnie, wiped her hands on her frilled apron, then smiled broadly, her wrinkled face crinkling, her eyes shining. “So this is Elliot,” she beamed. “I’m so pleased to meet you, and I’m glad you finally made it out to see your handiwork.”
Elliot nodded, sidestepping to dodge a woman who hurried past carrying a stack of wooden crates. She was wearing a colorful caftan and far too much jewelry, and her huge bun bobbed as she walked.
“Oh, Becky,” Tara said, grabbing the woman’s arm. “This is Elliot.”
Adjusting the crates on her hip, she grinned. Her chest was heaving from exertion, her cheeks were red and flushed, and her heavily made-up eyes flashed. “Well,” she huffed, “of course he is! Who but Justin’s friend would be so handsome?”
Unable to shake Becky’s hand due to the crates she held, Elliot nodded and stammered, “Nice to meet you.”
The woman grinned wickedly and stepped around him. “Watch out, ladies,” she called out as she stepped onto the deck. “We have
a real catch out here!” Her voice faded as she passed through the door of the spa.
Immediately four feminine heads popped around the doorjamb, their eyes round. Just as quickly they disappeared, followed by a cackle of voices — discussing him, Elliot could only assume.
His gaze dropped to Tara at his side and she shrugged. “You’ll get used to it,” she assured him, patting his arm. “Come on in and see what’s going on.”
He followed Tara, steadying his coffee cup with the other hand, carefully stepping around a short, thin man who was shoveling the flowerbed as if the devil himself were prodding him. The man’s eyes bulged and his glassed hung on the tip of his nose.
“That’s Bobby,” Tara said as they stepped into what would become the spa lobby, “and over there are Gloria and Marge.”
Unsure which of the gaggle of women she was referring to, he nodded and gripped his coffee cup tighter. The women all nodded as he passed. The room was just as cluttered as it had been the night before, but now, instead of boxes, the room was filled with piles of items pulled from the boxes, as well as women of all sizes, ages, and types. Flattening against the wall so the redhead could pass, he scanned the room. “Who is in charge here?” he croaked, afraid to ask.
Tara scanned the noisy room. “There she is, come on...” she said, dragging Elliot forward by the elbow.
Elliot shuffled through the piles of supplies as Tara called out to friends. Being a good-sized man, he had to twist and turn to fit through the narrow spaces Tara easily passed. Forced to hold his half-full coffee cup over his head, Elliot muttered apologies for stepping on feet and bumping into women. Finally they reached the other side of the large room.
Gaping behind him at the sea of supplies and bodies he’d traversed, Elliot was caught off guard when he turned to see the gypsy woman he’d met the day before standing in front of him with a clipboard.
Her eyes were bright, and her riot of black curls were held back from her face with a headband. She wore a cream-colored tunic unlike anything Elliot had ever seen. It was rumpled, loose, and long to her hips, and the top of the bodice was comprised of multiple layers of lace. Over the frock she wore a loose-weave grey jacket that hung open, with the sleeves rolled up to her elbows. Soft netting hung out the bottom of the frock at her hips, and around her neck she wore what he could only categorize as a necklace, but was actually a long chain with charms and feathers and scraps of lace shimmering all around it.
He stared at her in shock, not only because of her clothing, but because it was her. The strange bohemian woman had danced in and out of his scattered dreams all night. His eyes roamed over her all the way to the floor, taking in her grey leggings and laced boots, unable to miss her very shapely legs, before traveling back up to her face. This gypsy woman was going to run his spa?
Her perturbed expression clearly asked if he was finished gaping.
Feeling quite the clod, he hurried to extend his hand, forgetting momentarily that he held a coffee cup.
Lizzie jumped back, raising the clipboard in order to miss the torrent of black liquid as coffee sloshed over the rim of the cup.
Elliot jerked the cup back and staggered sideways into a pile of boxes, splashing coffee across his slacks and shoes.
“Let me help you,” Lizzie said, tossing her clipboard on a stack of boxes and grabbing a towel from a nearby pile of linens. Bending, she brushed at the coffee on his shins and shoes.
Embarrassed and numb with what he could only describe as uncharacteristically cloddish behavior, Elliot stood like a statue, his coffee cup held at arm’s length, still dripping onto the hardwood floor.

Kirsten grew up in the Western US and graduated from high school in 1984. She married soon there after and quickly built a family. With three young children and number four on the way, she returned to college in 1992. Her career as a draftsman included many settings ranging from a steel fabrication shops to prestigious engineering firms. Balancing family life with the workplace forced her to become the queen of multitasking. In 2001, bored with the cubical life, she moved on to teach drafting in technical college, then to opening her own consulting firm teaching 3D engineering software. Due to health problems, Kirsten retired in 2012 to travel with her husband for his job. She now works writing romance novels and enjoys spoiling her three grandchildren. Since 2017 Kirsten has lived and worked full time in a 40' travel trailer with her husband and her little dog Bingo.

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