29 March 2019

Take Your Pick: Mountain or Sea | Excerpts + Giveaway


In this gentle, inspirational romance, Lin Stepp reveals the healing touch and deep peace the beauty of the Smoky Mountains can bring to a hurt and troubled heart.

Too much work, too much pressure, and too much heartache can lead even a strong young woman like Mallory Wingate to the edge of a nervous breakdown. Now her doctor and employer have insisted she take a space to heal and rest—so like it or not, she’s heading to her grandparents’ resort in the Smoky Mountains. Hoping to sleep and rest on the flight home, Mallory is entertained instead by an unexpectedly charismatic stranger, making her forget many of her problems and even making her feel deliciously female again.

Lucas James, flying home from a pro golfing event, hadn’t expected to enjoy an interlude of flirting with a pretty stranger on the plane. A stranger he never expected to see again but who turns out to be the granddaughter of his boss at The Millhouse Resort. Worse, he quickly learns she’s passed through a recent history of emotional problems that remind him all too painfully of his past wife. The last thing Lucas wants is to get involved with anyone like Cecily again. Surely it won’t be too hard to keep his distance while Mallory is at the resort.

Publisher: Mountain Hill Press
Release Date: April 2, 2019


Set against the alluring backdrop of coastal South Carolina, Claire at Edisto takes the reader on a sweet and gentle journey showing that love and new beginnings can often bloom from the deepest sorrows.

Standing in grief and shock at the grave of her young husband, Claire Avery wonders what she and her young daughters will do now. They live in the church parsonage they need to vacate. She hasn’t worked since her marriage twelve years ago. Old issues and complications hinder relationships with her family. Struggling for answers, Claire accepts her brother-in-law’s offer to stay at his beach house at Edisto to give her a season to heal and think. But even the peace and beauty of the coastal island bring new problems along with unexpected joys as Claire seeks to find her way.

Parker Avery always promised his brother Charles he would look after Claire if anything happened to him. Charles stood by him three years ago when his wife Ann died and Parker is determined now to be a help to Claire and the girls. As time passes, instead of feeling like a hero, he feels like a heel instead as he realizes he’s developing feelings for his own brother’s widow. To make things worse, he watches with pain and jealousy as Miles Lawrence waltzes into Claire’s life. What can he expect though? It hardly seems right that Claire, even after a season of mourning, would ever fall in love with her own brother-in-law.

Publisher: Mountain Hill Press
Release Date: April 2, 2019


“Mallory’s a strong girl,” Beau said, crossing one ankle across his knee and making himself comfortable. “Smart, hard-working, ambitious, resourceful, and caring. But she went through some tough times this last year with her mother dying and then had a nervous breakdown recently.”

Lucas felt himself tense, the words bringing back a swirl of bad memories he didn’t want to remember or dwell on. “Sorry to hear that,” he made himself say.

“From what I hear, she just cracked—started shaking, crying and couldn’t stop. Staff at her publishing house couldn’t help her calm down. Finally called an ambulance, and they took her into the hospital for a couple of days. Doctors called it a minor breakdown, mostly caused by an overload of care and stress.”
Lucas’s mind wandered as Beau talked, thinking about Mallory back at Wingate House, playing with his daughter. He hoped nothing happened in front of Suzannah. Hadn’t the child seen enough emotional volatile outbreaks in the past? And hadn’t he?

“The doctors thought Mallory ought to take a long break, to get away and get some rest.” Beau’s voice droned on. “We’re tickled she chose to come here. We haven’t had Mallory with us for a long holiday since she was in high school.” He rubbed his neck. “I thought you ought to know she’s been ill in case she has an emotional moment or something.”

Great, Lucas thought. He’d flirted with this girl and kissed her on the airplane. Terrific. He hoped she wouldn’t expect him to start a relationship with her, because he had no plans to go there. Especially knowing what he did now.


“I’ve told you since early summer you are an untapped treasure,” he said on a soft note. “You don’t see your own gifts and talents.”

Claire frowned at him. “Perhaps not.”

She reached toward him to get her sketchbooks. “However, I’m glad you found these and I thank you.” She stood after taking her books back. “I really need to go in. The girls will be coming back soon. Lula may try to call me. She and John took the children out on the boat tonight.”

Miles stood, also. “I keep a copier at the beach house. I made copies of all these sketchbooks to send to a friend of mine in the publishing business. I think they might sell as books other children could enjoy.”

Claire knew her mouth dropped open. “You had no right to do that, Miles Lawrence.”

He leaned toward her. “Are you more afraid they’ll fail or succeed, Claire Avery? What if you have real talent, real saleable talent? Would you rise to the occasion to pursue it? Could you handle the discipline involved or the possible responsibility and recognition? It might make demands on you.”

“You’re always probing at me,” she snapped in anger. “Do you enjoy it? Do you like upsetting me?”

“I like making you think about yourself.” He gave her a knowing smile, unfazed by her irritation. “I like making you look at who you are besides a wife and a mother. You define yourself in too narrow a sphere. You don’t recognize any of your talents as possibilities for expanding who you are. Yet each of them holds the potential for showing you a whole new dimension of your being.”


Lin Stepp is a native Tennessean, businesswoman and educator. A New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Amazon best-selling international author, Lin now has sixteen published books, including her twelve beloved Smoky Mountain novels set in different locations of the Tennessee and North Carolina mountains, as well as a Smoky Mountain novella in one of Kensington’s Christmas anthologies. In addition, Lin’s first novel in a new Edisto Trilogy recently released, set on the South Carolina coast. Lin and her husband also write regional guidebooks, including a Smoky Mountain hiking guide and a Tennessee state parks book. Stepp’s latest 2019 releases are The Interlude, set in the Greenbrier and Pittman Center of the Great Smoky Mountains and Claire at Edisto set at Edisto Beach, South Carolina. Lin enjoys keeping up with her readers on Facebook, Twitter, and through her monthly blog on her website.


(1) winner will win:

your choice of The Interlude OR Claire at Edisto (print, US only)
$10 Amazon gift card

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight March 24, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm March 31, 2019. Void where prohibited by law. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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  1. My daughter has a sketchbook she carries around everywhere. She would be livid if someone took it and made copies of her art!

  2. Rita Wray29/3/19 11:45

    The books sound great.

  3. Both of these book sounds like great reads.

  4. Thank you for being part of the “Take Your Pick: Mountains or Sea” Blog Tour. I enjoyed reading both excerpts and would love to read them both.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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