I'm soooo excited to feature AUTHOR STACEY JOY NETZEL on my Twelve Days of Giveaways!! This is a special blog where Stacey is paying it forward for the holidays!!! Be sure to leave a comment for you free ecopy of MISTLETOE MATCH-UP!! Be sure to go out and buy your copy or gift a copy of MISTLETOE MAGIC! The winner will be announced at the end of tomorrow's blog post!
My new author tradition is to pick one of my Christmas books and donate 100% of my December royalties from that book to someone or somewhere that could use the help. Last year I donated $300.00 from sales of Dragonfly Dreams, and this year I'll be donating much more.
This year's book is MISTLETOE MAGIC. It's Book 2 in my Romancing Wisconsin series, and since my heroine runs a no-kill animal shelter, the recipient of my Dec. royalties is a local Wisconsin shelter; Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary, Inc.
Janelle skipped down the stone steps of the main lodge Tuesday morning, Duke and Daisy on her heels. She paused to give each of the Huskies a warm greeting before continuing into the barn with a light step. She had a big day ahead of her. Regular chores, stalls to get ready for two new horses arriving after lunch, a meeting with the bank to see if her loan application had been approved, and then the present wrapping party at the school that night.
The thought of seeing Mark Riley again had secured a permanent smile on her face. She shouldn’t let herself look forward to the evening in his company so much, but a frown simply couldn’t be summoned. Even the animals sensed something was up. Her whistled Christmas carols while serving their breakfast perked lots of ears.
Including George and Jasper, the dark bays who pulled the parade wagon, there were six horses and one pony currently occupying the twenty-stall structure. The other stalls housed three llamas, one goat with four kids, a buffalo, two sheep and a skunk. A smaller shed out back housed twenty-three cats, not counting strays, with a separate section for chickens and rabbits.
She’d adopted the two huskies this past spring after Maggie passed away, and they had free reign of the property all day while enjoying the shelter of the lodge at night.
Janelle finished cleaning all the enclosures and readied the stalls for the newcomers before noon, which allowed for a short break to sit with the skunk, Rose. Someone had a sense of humor. The striped animal had come to her a few days ago and would leave by the end of the week to go to a lady in Milwaukee who ran an exotic pet rehab/rescue from her home. His previous owners had bought and de-scented him before ever checking if Wisconsin law allowed skunks for pets—which it didn’t.
In the nine years she’d worked with her friend Maggie in the animal rescue business, Janelle had never dealt with a tame skunk, but information on the internet told her she needed to show the little fella lots of love. If she’d needed to keep him longer than a week, she would’ve set him up inside the lodge with her, but for now, the stall would have to do. Apparently, skunks were like mischievous two-year-old toddlers, and she’d have to childproof the entire lodge before bringing him inside.
The curious, friendly little creature was nothing like she thought a skunk would be. Yesterday she’d removed her old winter coat only to have the little guy drag it into the pet carrier she’d provided for his den. He’d tugged and pushed until the material was stuffed inside just so, and this morning he’d been snuggled up so nice and cozy, she didn’t have the heart to reclaim the jacket.
After about an hour of playtime, the critter was tuckered out and crawled up to cuddle against her neck for a nap. His soft fur tickled her skin.
“If I had more time to spend with you, I’d keep you here little guy,” she murmured. “But things will be better for you where you’re going. You’ll get all the love you need.”
Her stomach reminded her she’d missed lunch just as the dogs started barking. Janelle set the skunk in his makeshift den and smiled at his sleepy blinks. Once she stepped outside, the dogs quieted. Her grandpa parked his truck and horse trailer next to the large double doors of the barn. Looked like she’d have to wait on lunch.
Janelle waved when her grandpa got out and fed Duke treats from his pockets. Daisy hung back at a safe distance. Butch tossed a couple treats her way while Janelle stepped up to the passenger side of the truck and opened the door. “Hi, Grandma.”
Judy Walsh climbed down from her seat. “Are you all ready for us?”
Janelle nodded. “Yep. You look like you’re feeling much better than you were on Saturday.”
“I am, thank you. Though I hear I missed quite the show from a certain young man.”
Janelle grinned. “It was definitely entertaining.”
“And you’re seeing him again tonight?”
“Grandpa.” She scowled at Butch across the truck bed. “You don’t leave nothing out, do you?”
“Yer grandma demanded details, Janey. You know what that’s like.”
They all laughed. Indeed she did. Judy pulled her into a tight hug. “It’s about time you start dating again.”
“Don’t get ahead of yourself, Grandma.”
“I’m not, don’t worry. However, any brother of Eric Riley’s—”
“Grandma,” Janelle cut in with a warning tone.
A loud commotion sounded from inside the trailer. Powerful hooves struck repeatedly against the back doors. Janelle faced the trailer with raised eyebrows. “Whoa.”
Judy wrapped an arm around Janelle’s waist. They walked over to join Butch by the barn entrance. “That would be Zara. She’s going to be a handful, so you’ll need to be very careful.”
“I can hear that.” Janelle didn’t mind the challenge. She was just thankful her grandmother had decided to drop the subject of her upcoming non-date.
They worked for the next half hour getting the new horses into their stalls and settled—or as settled as the little black mare, Zara, would get. Thank God for reinforced stalls. Janelle fought tears more than once at the sight of the two horses’ malnourished bodies, every rib visible even through their thick winter coats. While the chestnut thoroughbred was calm, listless even, the black mare had a spirit that refused to be broken. The scars and more recent welts on her shoulders and hindquarters told the story of how her previous owner had tried to break her. Janelle set her jaw, thinking how just once she’d like to get that person alone for five minutes.
After her grandparents left, she spent the rest of the afternoon with the horses, hoping to get them somewhat used to their new home before she had to leave for the evening. The chestnut perked up a little and ate the small amount of grain she poured in the feedbox, but the black mare stayed at the rear of the stall with her ears pinned back against her head.
“It’s okay, Zara, we’ve got plenty of time,” Janelle said softly.
So here’s the deal:
· Mistletoe Magic is just $2.99 and 100% of my December royalties for this book goes to HEA Charity: Amazon, BN, Apple, ARe, Kobo, SW
Grab your copies today, or gift the books to a friend.
Better yet - do both and enjoy!
Christmas is a season of giving; What's your favorite charity?
Stacey Joy Netzel
Website and Blog: http://www.StaceyJoyNetzel.com
Award-winning author Stacey Joy Netzel fell in love with books at a young age, so for her the graduation to writing them was natural. An avid reader and fan of movies with a happily ever after, she is thrilled to call herself a full-time writer after 20 years as a travel agent. She writes romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and the occasional paranormal romance short story. Colorado is one of her favorite settings for her books, followed closely by Wisconsin and Italy.
She lives in her native Wisconsin with her husband and three children, a couple horses and some barn cats. In her limited free time she enjoys gardening, canning, and visiting her parents in Northeastern Wisconsin (Up North) at the family cabin on the lake.