Office Escape – Romance Novels Excerpts From Harlequin

Need an escape of the chaos of today?

You are working from home now, perhaps you have kids at home too for school and you can’t go out cause another lockdown is coming. Well, perhaps a romantic fantasy is that escape you need to help feed your mind, body and soul.

Harlequin offers a free digital sampler of their latest romance novels on their website, if you want curl up on the couch and read a good romance story. You will just need to register on their site to get the free sampler

Below are excerpts of this sampler for you to read now themed “Fallen Leaves Uplifted Hearts: A Romance Sampler”. There are 4 novels to check out. The free download is available at this link.

  • Texas Proud by Diana Palmer
  • Claiming His Bollywood Cinderella by Tara Pammi  
  • Claiming the Rancher’s Heir by Maisey Yates
  • Rookie Instincts by Carol Ericson 

Texas Proud by Diana Palmer

Chapter One

Her name was Bernadette Epperson, but everybody she knew in Jacobsville, Texas, called her Bernie. She was Blake Kemp’s new paralegal, and she shared the office with Olivia Richards, who was also a paralegal. They had replaced former employees, one who’d married and moved away, the other who’d gone to work in San Antonio for the DA there.

They were an interesting contrast: Olivia, the tall, willowy brunette, and Bernie, the slender blonde with long, thick platinum blond hair. They’d known each other since grammar school and they were friends. It made for a relaxed, happy office atmosphere.

Ordinarily, one paralegal would have been adequate for the Jacobs County district attorney’s office. But the DA, Blake Kemp, had hired Olivia to also work as a part-time paralegal. That was because Olivia covered for her friend at the office when Bernie had flares of rheumatoid arthritis. It was one of the more painful forms of arthritis, and when she had attacks it meant walking with a cane and taking more anti-inflammatories, along with the dangerous drugs she took to help keep the disease from worsening. It also meant no social life to speak of. Bernie would have liked having a fellow of her own, but single men knew about her and nobody seemed willing to take on Bernie, along with a progressive disease that could one day make her disabled.

There were new treatments, of course. Some of them involved weekly shots that halted the progression of the disease. But those shots were incredibly expensive, and even with a reduced price offered by kindly charitable foundations, they were still out of her price range. So it was methotrexate and prednisone and folic acid. And trying not to brood about the whole thing.

She was on her way to her room at Mrs. Brown’s boardinghouse. It was raining, and the rain was cold. It was October and cool. Not the best time to forget her raincoat, but she’d been in a hurry and late for work, so it was still hanging in her closet at home. Ah, well, she thought philosophically, at least she had a nice thick sweater over her thin blouse. She laughed hysterically to herself. The sweater was a sponge. She felt water rolling down over her flat stomach under her clothes.   

Claiming His Bollywood Cinderella by Tara Pammi  

Chapter One

Vikram Raawal walked up the steps of Raawal Mahal, his family’s two-hundred-year-old palatial ancestral bungalow. It was the only property his parents had left unsullied by their still-tempestuous marriage of forty years.

The muggy October afternoon was redolent with the pungent aroma of the jasmine creeper that his grandfather had planted for his wife all those years ago.

His grandparents had shared a love story that couldn’t be recreated by all the glittering sets and stars of Bollywood. If not for the fact that Vikram had very clear memories of them—Daadu and Daadi sitting side by side listening to ghazals on the gram- ophone, sharing stories with him and his younger brother and sister, Daadi keeping silent vigil by her husband’s side as he vanished away into nothing…he would have scoffed at even the idea of such a love.

But he had seen it. He’d been a part of it. He’d found comfort and joy in its shadow. And today, at the age of thirty-six, memories of that love hit him hard.

He was lonely, he admitted to himself, as he walked through the gated courtyard toward the main bungalow. The strains of an old ghazal played on the gramophone player, sinking sweetly into his veins, slowly releasing the pent-up tension he’d been car- rying. He laughed at the mural his younger brother, Virat, had painted on one wall where a profusion of plants and flowerpots sat on an elevated concrete bench.

The cozy bungalow, full of sweet memories and peaceful childhood associations, was his favorite place in the world. And yet, he had avoided visiting for almost two months, using out-of-country shoots and overloaded scheduling as excuses.

But here in this place where he was just Vikram and not Vikram Raawal, Bollywood star, and the chairman of the family production company Raawal House of Cinema, he couldn’t lie to himself.

He hadn’t wanted to expose himself to his daadi’s brand of perceptiveness. He hadn’t wanted her to see how unhappy he’d been of late. How…unsettled in his own skin. 

Claiming the Rancher’s Heir by Maisey Yates

Chapter One

Creed Cooper was a cowboy. A rich, successful cowboy from one of the most well-regarded families in Logan County. He also happened to be tall, muscular and in possession of the kind of good looks a lot of women liked. As a result, nearly nothing—or no one—was off- limits to him.No one except Wren Maxfield. Maybe that was why every time he looked at her his hands itched. To unwind that tight bun from her hair. To make that mouth, which was always flattened in disapproval—at least around him—get soft and sexy and get all over his body.

And he had that itch a lot, considering he and Wren were the representatives for their respective families’ vineyards. Rivals, in fact.

And she hated him. She hated him so much that when she saw him her eyes flared with a particular kind of fire.

Fair enough, since he couldn’t really stand her either.

But somehow, years ago, a piece of that dislike inside him had twisted and caught hard in his gut and turned into an intensity of another kind entirely.

He was obsessed.

Obsessed with the idea he might be able to use that fire in her eyes to burn up the sheets between them.

Instead, he had to listen to her heels clicking on the floor as she paced around the showroom of Cow- boy Wines, looking like a smug cat, making him wait to hear whatever plan it was she’d come to tell him about.

“Are you listening to me?” she asked suddenly, her green cat eyes getting sharp.

She was dressed in a tight-fitting red dress that fell to the top of her knees. It had a high, wide neck, and while it didn’t show a lot of skin, it hugged her full breasts so tight it didn’t leave a lot to the imagination.

Rookie Instincts by Carol Ericson 

Prologue

The wind whipped off the lake, its chilly tentacles snaking into his thin black jacket, which he gathered at the neck with one raw hand, stiff with the cold. His other hand dipped into his pocket, his fingers curling around the handle of the gun.

His eyes darted toward the dark, glassy water and the rowboat bobbing against the shore before he stepped onto the road…and behind his prey.

She hobbled ahead of him, her shoes crunching the gravel, her body tilted to one side as she gripped her heavy cargo, which swung back and forth, occasionally banging against her leg.

A baby. Nobody said nothing about a baby.

He took a few steps after her and the sound of his boots grinding into the gravel seemed to echo through the still night. He froze.

When her footsteps faltered, he veered back into the reeds and sand bordering the lake. He couldn’t have her spotting him and running off. What would she do with the baby? She couldn’t run carrying a car seat. He’d hauled one of those things before with his niece inside and it wasn’t no picnic, even though Mindy was just a little thing.

He crept on silent feet, covering three or four steps to her one until he was almost parallel with her. Close enough to hear her singing some Christmas lullaby. Close enough to hear that baby gurgle a response.

The chill in the air stung his nose and he wiped the back of his hand across it. He licked his chapped lips.

Nobody said nothing about a baby.

The girl stopped, her pretty voice dying out, the car seat swinging next to her, the toys hooked onto the handle swaying and clacking. She turned on the toes of her low-heeled boots and peered at the road behind her, the whites of her eyes visible in the dark.

But he wasn’t on the road no more.

He stepped onto the gravel from the brush that had been concealing him. Her head jerked in his direction. Her mouth formed a surprised O, but her eyes knew.

When he leveled his weapon at her, she didn’t even try to run. Her knees dipped as she placed the car seat on the ground next to her feet.

She huffed out a sigh that carried two words. “My baby.”

He growled. “I ain’t gonna hurt the baby.”

Then he shot her through the chest.

The sound of the shot buffeted his eardrums, and a few birds screeched and took flight, but there was no- body here to help her or her baby…just him.

Harlequin is one of the leading romance novel publishers in the world. It is estimated that one in three women have read an Harlequin romance novel at some point in their lives. Harlequin has 12 series romance lines that publish a set number of books on a monthly schedule. The free digital download is available at this link. You must register on the site before you can access the free sample.