15 May 2024

loyally, luke | excerpt + giveaway

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about the book

Sometimes love means embracing the good, the bad. . . and even the impossible.

Dear Reader —

My name is Luke Edgewood, and there are few things in life that I require. Mainly black coffee. And flannel. And lots of solitude. And my dogs, Chewy and Indie. What I don’t need is romance, so I have no plans to change my thirty-year-old bachelor status anytime soon.

But my youngest sister thinks that by accepting a short-term construction job in the small European country of Skymar, that I’m going to follow along in her footsteps and discover my own romantic adventure. Nope. Bah humbug. The End. This time, her rom-com-movie senses are totally wrong.

Or maybe not. Because I’ve met a Grace Kelly lookalike who is annoying. . . until she isn’t. But she is impossible. As in, nothing can happen between us because she is a literal princess. Even though that’s easy to forget when we’re working together to restore a castle-like orphanage in a secluded mountain town and “forced proximity” includes a small closet, a secret one-hundred-year-old journal, and the tactile memory of an off-limits royal in my arms.

Basically, the whole situation has turned into an ooey gooey magical snow globe of romantic tropes complete with cute kids and an actual ball. Now, even my sentences are starting to sound like mush. Ugh. Send high levels of testosterone my way–I’m going to need it.

Loyally, Luke

publisher: thomas nelson
release date: may 14, 2024

other books in the series


Luke turned to find Ms. St. Clare standing a few feet away from the doorframe where he’d been leaning. “And a genuine one?” She followed his gaze to the girls disappearing around the corner of the hall, those eyes flicking back to him with a hint of curiosity in them. “I didn’t realize you possessed one.”

Her gaze was softer today. Not quite as . . . unwelcoming. The loose curls that had escaped her bun and framed her face probably helped. It was hard to look mean with a halo of curls around someone’s face. He inwardly groaned. Halo of curls? Where on earth did that thought come from?

“I reserve smiles for friendly people.” He finagled the cookies into his coffee cup hand and tugged the papers from beneath his arm. “I emailed a copy of this estimate to Mr. Holton per his request, but here’s a paper copy I planned to leave for your review.”

She hesitated, as if caught off guard, and then took the proffered paper. “Thank you.”

He nodded, keeping to task. “I took some of the material costs from market prices, but I bet you could get a sizable discount if buying bulk. Do y’all have a contractor’s discount at some of your building supply stores? I reckon the orphanage is tax exempt.”

For the first time, Grace Kelly lost a bit of her posture. “I . . . I’m not certain about bulk purchases, but yes, the orphanage is under a special tax bracket.”

“Well, both will save you some money. The more you can save, the more the school can put back into these kids.” He took a sip of his coffee and gestured with his chin in the direction Faye and Amara had disappeared. “I’m wondering if you ought to have someone inspect the heating system too. Make sure it’s in good working order.”

“I know these types of buildings aren’t as insulated as newer structures.”

He sent her a look, but her attention was focused down the hallway. She had a delicate nose too. He pinched his eyes closed. “I’d imagine so.”

Quiet stirred greater temptation to look her way again, so he decided right then and there, he should probably leave. “The estimate has a detailed inventory of what’s wrong, so whoever you get to do the work, you at least have knowledge about what needs to be fixed so another team won’t try to take advantage of Cambric Hall.”

Her attention flashed back to him. “Are you not interested?”

His brows flew skyward. “Interested?”

“In the job,” she clarified, and he wanted to go hit his head against one of the stone walls, if for no other reason than to remove the memory.

“I figured you’d probably want to get someone else.”

One of her golden brows rose. “Because of your ogling me in the coffee shop?”

“Ogling?” He turned to face her. “I can assure you I wasn’t ogling, Ms. St. Clare. Ogling implies I had disrespectful thoughts or intentions, but that’s not the case.”

Her gaze searched his and some sort of itching feeling he couldn’t reach buzzed in his chest.

“And exactly what sorts of thoughts were you having?”

“Human ones.” Her stare held him, and his throat started to close up. Heat climbed his neck and started scorching his face. Even his beard started tingling. That stone wall was sounding better and better all the time. “You’re nice to look at. Like the view from these windows or the architecture of this building. That’s as far as my imagination went. Nothing but simple admiration.”

Silence followed again and he took such a large drink of coffee, it hurt to swallow.

“I think we may have gotten off to a poor start, Mr. Edgewood, and I’m afraid I’m to blame for that. And I’m sorry.” Her words drew his attention back toward her, those blue eyes examining his face, searching. “Would you allow me to start over?” She offered her hand, a hint of a smile on her lips. “I’m Ellie St. Clare.”

Red lights started flashing in the back of his mind at her sudden gentling. Unkind and demeaning proved an easy person to dislike and avoid.

But a woman who took responsibility for her actions and attempted to rectify them? Nope. Beam me up, Scotty! He didn’t need any reasons to like Grace Kelly, because then things like emotions started crowding in on solid good sense.

And Luke was a big fan of solid good sense and few emotional tangles.

In fact, he didn’t like any sort of tangles.

The same golden brow rose higher, waiting.

Ridiculous. Silly. He’d just treat her like anybody else he worked with. No problem.

about the author

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance “peppered” with grace and humor. Writing both historical and contemporary novels, she loves to incorporate her native Appalachian culture and/or her unabashed adoration of the UK into her stories. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC, where she is the wife of a fantastic pastor, mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.

Connect with Pepper by visiting pepperdbasham.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


(1) winner will receive a signed copy of the book, tool pens, and $25 Amazon gift card!

(1) additional winner will receive a signed copy of the book!

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight May 15, 2024 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on May 22, 2024. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

tour schedule


  1. Ahh!! I'm so excited for Luke's story!

  2. thanks so much for spotlighting Loyally, Luke today!

  3. This will be a smile-inducing read.

  4. I would love to read this.

  5. This sounds like a great book! Def adding to my tbr!

  6. I'm definitely reading this heartwarming novel. Thanks for sharing and hosting this tour.

  7. I adore Pepper Basham's novels. Thank you for sharing.

  8. I enjoyed this excerpt, it sounds like a good book!

  9. Anonymous18/5/24 17:36

    Interesting series