Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Kissing Kin by Karen Hulene Bartell NBTM Virtual Book Tour


by Karen Hulene Bartell

The following scene is one of my favorites in Kissing Kin because it embodies the paranormal romance’s central dramatic question. It’s the moment when Maeve and Luke begin questioning whether their budding feelings for each other are their own--or are prompted by some supernatural force.


The vineyard reflected the rusty-red tones of the late winter sunset. 

Dusk. I held back a sigh as I glimpsed the winery and cozy cabin. Heartrending in its homey beauty, the scene tugged at my earliest recollections. 

The child of vagabond parents, I was often on the road at dusk, just as the lights began coming on in the houses we passed. Growing up without a permanent address, I fantasized about living in one of those comfortable homes instead of viewing them through the car window. 

“Gets dark early in the mountains.” Luke caught my gaze, did a double take, then stared. 

“Is something wrong?” 

“Your hair…” 

“Is something on it?” I swiped at my head. 

“No.” He chuckled. “The sunset captures your hair’s highlights--gives it a reddish glow.” 

“Oh.” Pleasantly surprised, I gave a nervous laugh as the heat crept to my cheeks. “Thanks.” 

He reached out his hand and hesitated. “May I?” 

“Sure.” Wondering what he was doing, I quivered as his hand swept my hair behind my ear. As arousing as a caress, the gesture sent a shockwave through my body. 

Then his hand molded itself just above my neck, gently supporting my head as he leaned toward me. 

Without warning, I ached to feel his mouth on mine. 

He leaned closer. 

His warm breath tickling, I met him in a rush of hormones and adrenalin. Then lifting my lips, I closed my eyes, reveling in the give and take of his kiss. 

Only Teddy’s insistent bark woke me from the daze. 

Then, like a fly buzzing at the window, a high-pitched sound droned--squeak…squeak…squeak--as the chair rocked back and forth on the patio. 

In the fading twilight, a nearly transparent silhouette emerged. 

I pulled away with a scream, and the image vanished. 

“What?” He followed my stare. 

“I saw a woman…cradling a baby…” I spoke without turning toward him, watching as the chair gradually slowed its rocking, then came to a standstill. “What’s going on?”


An orphan, Maeve Jackson has always yearned for a home and family, but now that she’s starting over after a broken engagement, as well as mustering out of the Army, she’s drawn more than ever before. Add to this a strong physical attraction to Luke that’s apparently reciprocated, and her heart’s racing.

But this haunted cabin--along with ancestors that have bones to pick--kickstart a five-generation mystery. Maeve can't help but wonder: Is her attraction to Luke physical…or metaphysical?

Paranormal Romance

Maeve Jackson is starting over after a broken engagement—and mustering out of the Army. No job and no prospects, she spins out on black ice and totals her car.

When struggling vintner Luke Kaylor stops to help, they discover they’re distantly related. On a shoestring budget to convert his vineyard into a winery, he makes her a deal: prune grapevines in exchange for room and board.

But forgotten diaries and a haunted cabin kickstart a five-generational mystery with ancestors that have bones to pick. As carnal urges propel them into each other’s arms, they wonder: Is their attraction physical…or metaphysical?

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Kissing-Trans-Pecos-Karen-Hulene-Bartell-ebook/dp/B0CRJ6P13V/ref=sr_1_1

Our shoulders rubbed each time we moved. The downy hairs on the back of my neck tickling from the electricity passing between us, I shivered as the currents barreled down my spine.

“Cold?” Eyes wide, he caught my gaze.

I opened my mouth to speak but, forgetting what I meant to say, lost myself in his inviting brown eyes and could only nod.

He reached his arm around my shoulders and pulled me close, sharing his body warmth.

With the faint scents of leather and saddle soap wafting from his jacket, his nearness was intoxicating, and I was tempted to lean into a kiss. Yet huddled together on the bone-chilling ledge, I gazed instead at the rugged wilderness surrounding us, content to savor the sweet ache of longing. If more is meant to be, it’ll happen.

Then thoughts of Cody froze me like a blue norther. Why did he come to mind?


So close, Luke felt the rise and fall of her chest each time she breathed. Her hair tickled his ear, raising goosebumps--and possibilities. If she turns toward me or gives any sign…But her sigh signaled something else. He side-glanced to read her mood, but she stared at the scenery, apparently oblivious of his rising libido.

“Want…” His voice cracked. Clearing his throat, he tried again. “Want some water?”

“Sure.” She turned her head quickly, her hair brushing his cheek with a citrus scent.

Author of the Trans-Pecos and Sacred Emblem series, Karen is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, wife, and all-around pilgrim of life, who writes multicultural, offbeat love stories. Born to rolling-stone parents who moved often, Bartell found her earliest playmates as fictional friends in books. Paperbacks became her portable pals. Ghost stories kept her up at night—reading feverishly. The paranormal was her passion. Novels offered an imaginative escape. An only child, she began writing her first novel at the age of nine, learning the joy of creating her own happy endings. Professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin, Karen resides in the Texas Piney Woods with her husband Peter and her “mews”—three rescued cats and a rescued *Cat*ahoula Leopard dog.

Connect with Karen: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenHuleneBartell

MeWe: https://mewe.com/i/karenbartell 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HuleneKaren 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/karenhulenebartell/    

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/611950.Karen_Hulene_Bartell   

Website: http://www.KarenHuleneBartell.com/  

Email: info@KarenHuleneBartell.com 

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/karenhulenebartell  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karenhulenebartell/ 

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/karen-hulene-bartell 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karenhulenebartell/  

A randomly drawn winner will receive a $25 Amazon/BN gift card.


  1. Thank you for letting me share a scene from my latest release KISSING KIN! I have a question for your readers: Do you open a story with a descriptive or narrative paragraph or two? AND how do you define the difference between descriptive and narrative paragraphs?

  2. I usually open with a narrative paragraph that shows my main character active in the setting. A descriptive paragraph opening would show only the setting, and the main character would appear in a later paragraph.

    1. Helen, I have to agree with you! Descriptive is TELLING the readers what to think, but narrative (IMHO) is SHOWING them. Many thanks for popping by and sharing your thoughts!

  3. Do you have a favorite movie or TV show?

    1. I do. Young Sheldon is my favorite TV show because I can relate to his character, Missy, and Meemaw. I find the relationship between his sister and his father sweet, and (living in East Texas) I have to laugh at the East Texasisms. I enjoy the sitcom’s imperfect characters, who do their best in extenuating circumstances. Do you, Tracie?

    2. Young Sheldon is a family favorite for our family too! I was born outside of Houston, TX and spent my first five years of life in Texas so I can relate as well! I wish you much success and happiness in 2024!

    3. Thank you so much, Tracie - and so nice to meet another Texan Young Sheldon lover ;)

  4. Thank you AGAIN for hosting KISSING KIN and me today! We were blessed with some wonderful discussions!

  5. I usually start a story with a main character in some situation that includes the setting. Often they are alone, but some change is about to happen. I like a scene that gets a reader right into the story and makes them wonder what’s happening and why, and makes them want to know more about the character. So I guess a little description and a little narrative.

    1. Thank you for sharing your tips for opening stories with us, Lucy!

  6. This looks like a great read.

  7. Thanks for stopping by, Sherry! If you're in the market for a unique paranormal romance with engaging characters, pick up Kissing Kin: https://www.amazon.com/Kissing-Trans-Pecos-Karen-Hulene-Bartell-ebook/dp/B0CRJ6P13V Have a terrific evening!


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