I’m super happy to announce that Malloy Family book 8.5, THE PRESENT, is now out in the world for your reading pleasure from Samhain Publishing Ltd.! This novella began as a free short story, about 5,000 words, and left the reader to imagine what happened after Ethan finds a stranded woman in his cabin.
The full 21,000 novella THE PRESENT brings the story full circle, gives you a glimpse into what has happened in Ethan Malloy’s life and who Fiona is (not her name in the original short story, BTW).
This is a fun, sexy read but with a touch of emotion and the end of the grieving process for a man who deserves an HEA. It was amazingly fun to revisit with my lovely Malloy family, like going home again. 🙂
THE PRESENT is permanently $.99 for all my Malloy Family readers current, new and future! Find an excerpt and buy links below! 🙂
Don’t forget – One lucky commenter each month (on all W&W posts) wins a $25.00 gift card!
One night can change everything
Ethan Malloy has distanced himself from the world after his wife’s death. Two years have passed in self-imposed loneliness. During a fateful snowstorm, he finds a stranger in his house when he returns. Ethan’s life will never be the same.
Fiona Carmichael didn’t intend to get lost in a snowstorm or end up spending the night in a house with a man she barely knew. He made her yearn for what she’d never found—a home, a man to love and be loved by.
Circumstances threw them together, but will they take the life fate offers them?
Fiona couldn’t believe her luck. First the goddamn horse ran off and left her stranded. Then she found this little house like Goldilocks in the fairytale.
And of course, the bear had arrived.
Ethan Malloy was exceptionally handsome. With deep green eyes and wavy reddish brown hair, the big man was sensuality personified. However, he was also grumpy and growly like a bear. Helping him with his boots and coat seemed the right thing to do, particularly since she’d invited herself into his house.
When he accused her of lying, it was all she could do not to shout at him. Fiona might be many things, but a liar was not one of them. She prided herself on being honest no matter what. There had been a lantern in the snow, leading her to his house. She had expected someone to be home considering a light was burning, as was the fire in the fireplace.
It felt cozy and homey, even welcoming. Until the bear arrived.
Any normal human being would be kind enough to realize she’d had no choice. Considering the amount of ice and snow caked on her clothes, she was lucky to be alive. No doubt within thirty minutes, she would have been dead.
He walked into the kitchen like an old man with a hand pressed to the small of his back. Fiona felt bad but it wasn’t her fault that he’d fallen on his ass. She followed him, careful to keep a good distance away lest he decide she was the nefarious trespasser he accused her of being.
“The biscuits smell good.” He sounded moderately displeased by that fact.
“I was hired as a cook and housekeeper for a reason, Mr. Malloy.” She went around him to the stove and pulled out the biscuits.
The simple chore allowed her to focus on what she was doing. Truth was, she was trapped in a stranger’s house for God only knew how long, with no means of protection other than her intelligence and her sharp tongue. Ethan Malloy was in for a surprise if he tried to take advantage of her.
With a mighty groan, he sat at the small table and watched her. She could feel his gaze on her and it made her jumpy. Dratted man was too suspicious.
“I’m not a thieving crazy woman.” She popped some biscuits onto a tin plate she found on a shelf above the wooden sink.
“I never said you were.”
Fiona let loose a very unladylike snort. “Well, you could’ve fooled me. I thought for certain you wanted to throw me back out in the snow.”
“I would never do that.”
She didn’t respond again. Mr. Malloy could say anything he wanted. Fiona was no fool—she’d been too long on her own not to distrust people she didn’t know. Some people out west were friendly, but others were downright mean.
She didn’t know which this Malloy brother was, yet.
“My mother taught me to be a gentleman and to help those in need.” He sounded almost resentful of the fact. “Our—I mean, my house is always open to folks.”
“Except stranded women in snowstorms.”
As she set the plate in front of him, he took hold of her wrist. Fiona twisted and immediately got free, her heart pounding. He looked up at her with genuine surprise on his face.
“I understand you’re upset I came into your house without your say-so, but I needed to stay alive. But if you plan on hurting me or worse, I’ll take my chances outside.” She wasn’t about to let anyone take advantage of her. After all, Fiona hadn’t gotten by without using her brain and her instincts.
Ethan dropped his head into his hands and sighed deeply. “I’m sorry, Miss Carmichael. I don’t have any excuse for how I treated you.” He paused. “Lo siento.”
Fiona plopped down in the seat across from him and watched him carefully. She considered herself a good judge of character and Ethan was slowly convincing her of his. “You speak Spanish?”
He peeked at her through his fingers. “I’m sorry. Sometimes I speak Spanish without thinking about it. My wife was part-Mexican, part-Indian. She taught me…a lot.”
She was surprised to hear he’d been married, considering the barrenness of the house. Although she knew she shouldn’t ask, she did anyway. “What happened to her?”
Ethan sucked in a breath and uncovered his face. “Did you really ask me that?”
She shrugged. “Why not? After today you’ll never see me again. I’ll tell you my story if you tell me yours.”