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EXCERPT: Her Unexpected Family by Carol Burnside

CarolBurnside_HerUnexpectedFamily_200pxBLURB: Former bad boy, Travis Baxter, has a lot on his plate when a surprise in the way of a three year old son lands on his doorstep. Immediate custody brings Travis a major problem. He needs a nanny.

Claire Larkin’s personal policy is no involvement, no strings. Not even a pet until she’s pronounced cancer free. With spare time until Travis completes the 24/7 renovation flip on her salon, she pitches in to help the grieving little boy and stunned father. Despite her best efforts to resist, their attraction is too strong.

But when it appears her cancer has returned, Claire pulls away and Travis is faced with a seemingly impossible decision. Protect his son from another loss or support the woman he’s come to love?

Warning: This book contains hair salon gossip, hunky construction workers, sex in the shower, sudden humor and might tempt you to gorge on pizza and brownies. Even so, at certain points the reader may wish to keep tissues handy.
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ISBN:9781310836886            Price: $3.99
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Setup: Just before the scene change, Travis shocked Claire by jokingly asking with whom and where had she’d lost her virginity. When she recovered, she countered by saying he could go first with his story.


If it hadn’t been for the brief flash of alarm on Claire’s face, Travis might have pressed the issue to tease, or brought her to task for trying to weasel out of answering. But her panicked look changed his mind, made him want to erase the unpleasant memories.

He stepped closer, intending to start now. “Could be the past is better left there.”

Ever since they’d left the hospital, he’d been warring with the urge to pull Claire close and make their friends-with-benefits arrangement a reality. His patience was wearing thin, waiting for her to feel comfortable with the idea.

The corners of her mouth twitched, and his chest eased.

The woman was part sprite, part witch. Had to be. She’d wormed her way under his skin while holding him at arms length, and he wasn’t sure that was a good thing.

One minute, she was encouraging him with hand-holding and an offer of help, the next she was shrugging off his touch. She had to know where his gaze focused when her cute denim-encased behind protruded from his near-empty fridge. Yet her subject matter was far from seductive.

Mixed signals.

Did she want him to push the issue, make the choice easier for her?

He took the pen and notepad from her and tossed it on the countertop. The pen rolled noisily to a stop against his coffeemaker as he drew her into his arms.

Her eyes widened.

He held her gaze, letting her see his desire.

She ducked her head under his chin, pressing her nose to his chest.

God. She fit perfectly against him. Her softness pressed against him made him hard with a suddenness bordering on painful. He tilted her chin with one finger and slanted his mouth over hers.

Just a taste. To test the waters.

But nothing with Claire was just anything. He should know. He’d kissed his share of women and then some. This was different. She was different. Having her in his arms made him lose his mind a little. Made him want to barricade the doors and make love to her until she admitted this—whatever it was between them—was unexpected and worth exploring. And okay, yes, it made him want to stake his claim on her in the most primal way.

He pulled back a little, nipping at her bottom lip, trying to slow things before he scared her off. But she kissed him back with fervor, escalating their need like a lit match to gasoline. Claire was no shrinking violet. She gave as good as she got.

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Buy on: Smashwords / AmazonUS / UK / AU / / ARe / iTunes / Kobo  Also available in print.

Visit the author at or connect with her via: Facebook / Twitter / Newsletter / Goodreads



  1. Colleen C. says:

    Have this on my want list… 😀

  2. JJ says:

    The book sounds good with some very emotional issues with the cancer and the grieving little boy, but still having humor in it.

    • It’s always been my goal to engage the reader’s emotions, and I keep getting reviews about readers needing tissues with this one, so I guess I really did my job on this one. Still, Claire is pretty darn funny at times. She needed to be because I was reaching for the tissues as I wrote it.

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