Arms of Serenity by Donina Lynn

I'd like to welcome fellow Evernight author Donina Lynn to my blog. Her first novel, Arms of Serenity (Rock Services, Book 1), is being released today. Hello, Donina.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today! I’m very excited to be here and to be sharing my debut novel Arms of Serenity.   
When I first sat down to think about what I wanted to write, the one thing I knew I wanted to incorporate was a message. That being that the events of the past shouldn’t dictate how we live our lives in the future.  We should learn from our experiences and look to the future as an opportunity for a new beginning. Simple, right? But when we are unable to move beyond those events and they threaten to determine who we are today, is it ever that easy to forget and find the peace within ourselves to allow happiness into our lives? Life and especially love are never that simple.
In Arms of Serenity, you meet Nick and Becca. Both are emotionally damaged and in desperate need of someone to show them how to let go of their pasts and that love is possible as long as they are willing to let it in. Their story is full of inner struggles, laughs, romance and even a smidgen of danger. Doesn’t every good love story need at least one or two bad guys?

Plagued by guilt, Nicholas Hollsten ended his military career in the Special Forces and returned home only to be forced into a life he never wanted. Nick found himself running his father’s company and making good on a promise to his team. Angry and frustrated with the direction his life was taking, he calms his thoughts by filling his evenings and bed with soft distractions. Until one woman captures his interest.
Rebecca Klayton thought she was happy in her small town, running her bakery and avoiding love. That emotion only meant heartache and being left exactly where you started—alone. Lesson learned. But, when the sexy stranger from their hot New Year’s Eve party shows up at her counter, will she be able to ignore the temptation or will she find what she’s been missing in the Arms of Serenity?

Becca got as far as the curb outside before she heard Nick’s voice calling her name. She closed her eyes and groaned.
Almost made it.
Why was he following her? Couldn’t he just leave her alone? She held up her hand to signal a taxi and hoped ignoring him would work until one stopped.
Becca heard him say her name again. Only this time he was too close to pretend that she didn’t hear him. She turned to find him holding the picture frame.
“You forgot this.”
He just wanted to give her the frame. She sighed in relief and reached to take it from him.
“Thank you.”
He looked at her and put a smug smile on before saying, “You forgot these also.” He reached into his pant pocket and pulled out a glimpse of white lace material.
Becca gasped when she realized it was her forgotten panties. She got closer to put her hand out.
“Thank you for finding them.”
Nick pushed them back in his pocket. “How about that coffee?”
Becca took a step back and crossed her arms. “Are you seriously holding my underwear hostage until I go out on a date with you? Doesn’t that border on blackmail?”
Nick laughed. “Just using whatever means I have at my disposal to get you to say yes.”
Becca would laugh too if she wasn’t so angry. He was being an arrogant pushy ass. She glared at him. From his polished shoes, tailored pants, and what looked like a cashmere sweater, he was head to toe everything that Becca wasn’t. Why was he doing this? Damn him for coming after her. Damn him for wanting more when he could go back into the ballroom and have anyone of those models sitting at the table.
“You’re not my type.” She turned away from him and once again put her hand up in the air.
She stood there not wanting to look back. He hadn’t answered her, and Becca silently hoped that he had walked away. She was a mess. Her insides trembled at the conflicting emotions of anger and longing coursing through her. It would be so easy to give in and go with him.
Becca felt a hand brush against her neck and his voice against her ear.
“I’m going to have to argue that statement. I seem to remember being exactly your type last night as you shook and screamed in pleasure when I was buried deep inside of you.” He kissed the spot behind her ear, and she gasped in response. Shivers cascaded through her, and she leaned back melting into his body.
Becca cursed herself.
Dammit, Becca get some control! He’s just a rich guy who thinks he can get anything he wants.
Becca pulled away and turned around to face him as a taxi finally came to her rescue. Opening the door, she stood behind it to use as a barrier between them and took a breath to steady her trembling legs and gain some courage.
“Nick, last night was great, and thank you for not saying anything back in there.” She nodded her head in the direction of the hotel and continued. “But I’m just not interested.” She got in the cab, closed the door, and stared ahead as she gave the driver her destination. As the taxi pulled away, she could see him in the rearview mirror. For the second time in less than twenty-four hours, she left him just standing and staring after her.

Available at:

Author Bio:
Hi! I live in a small rural Pennsylvania town on the outskirts of the Poconos. As in small, I mean we don't even have a traffic light. We do, however, have a DG, a pizzeria and a Chinese restaurant. Thank goodness! Because, I would probably starve without takeout and a microwave. Cooking is something I enjoy during the holidays and for special occasions. But on a normal day, I take full advantage of a supermarket's frozen section.  
Even though I was born and raised a country girl, my idea of communing with nature is gazing out my window while guzzling mass quantities of coffee. Next to the microwave, my Keurig is my prized possession. Seriously, the inventors of that gadget deserve an award and are personal heroes of mine.  
When I'm not at my day job, hanging with my family or friends, curled up with my Kindle, or typing away at the computer, you can find me in front of the TV watching anything paranormal, sci-fi or a good action flick. Kudos go to any movie or show that incorporates explosions, big guns, and gratuitous butt shots.  
My addiction to romance novels started as soon as I could turn a page and has stayed with me until much later in life when I decided to sit down and give writing one a whirl. Who knew that decision would have brought me here? I am extremely grateful it has and hope you enjoy reading about the characters that have taken up residence in my head. There is a bit of a warning, however. I have a fondness - bordering on obsession - with the military, public service, bad boys, and men with bald heads, goatees or tattoos.  Heroes with one or many of these traits might be a reoccurring theme until I can work through these issues. :-)
You can find me at:


Rodeo Cohorts-Pendleton Round-Up

This week I'm spotlighting the Pendleton Round-Up. They just celebrated 103 years of rodeo. Pendleton is a rodeo like no other. Their arena is so large a football field fits in the center with room for a race track around the outside.

Big arenas are plentiful in the Pacific Northwest, but most keep the events standard. Roper's cattle are in a chute and they ask for them to be turned out when they are ready. Barrel patterns are set on a standard course.

Pendleton has taken the size of their arena and made changes that make it unique in the world of rodeo. Ropers still stand in a regulation box and call for their roping cattle. The cattle come from behind the grandstands and are pushed up an alleyway with someone yelling, "Started, halfway," etc. They also run downhill to enter the arena which speeds things up considerably. The roping events take place on the grass infield which adds an element of danger, well, another element of danger, because rodeo is dangerous all on its own.

This photo is former World Champion Team Roper Clay O'Brien Cooper. He was just about ready to throw his rope when his horse slipped on the grass. Both horse and rider walked away from the wreck, but I'll bet they were sore the next day.
Another event that Pendleton has made it's own is the barrel racing. In most arenas that are big enough, the standard measurements are set at 90 feet between the first and second barrels and 105 feet from the second to third. At Pendleton, the pattern is almost twice that distance. The barrels are set in the dirt and the girls race their horses across the grass to compete.

This style of barrel racing is unique to the  Pendleton Round-Up. Where a normal winning run is in the mid seventeen seconds, at the Pendleton Round-Up, the fastest time this year was 28.22 seconds.

Even with the barrels set in the dirt, the ground can be slick if the rider doesn't set her horse up correctly for the turns, causing a dangerous fall.
This horse and rider survived the crash without serious injury.

A big part of the Round-Up is a celebration of Indian Heritage, with pageants, dancing and handmade jewelry.
If you ever get a chance to attend Pendleton, make sure you save plenty of time. The rodeo, Happy Canyon, the Cowboy Hall of Fame, and downtown Pendleton are just a few of the sights you'll want to see. Close to 100 venders are set up just outside of the rodeo grounds with all types of handmade jewelry.
Have you ever attended the Pendleton Round-Up? What did you like best?


Rodeo Cohorts-The Greats

This week's blog is a little different. I saw this picture on The Old Bucking Horse Museum and Hall of Fame page and loved it. It's a photo of the Saddle Bronc Riding finalists at the Lewison, Idaho Roundup rodeo in 1952. They are, from left to right, Bob Sheppard, Bill Linderman, Deb Copenhaver, Gene Rambo, rodeo queen Marjorie Hauger, Casey Tibbs, Benny Reynolds and Benny Bedford. It would be tough to find a more prestigious group of rough stock riders anywhere.

Who do you remember from days gone past? Who were your heros?