Welcome to the Treasure Valley, Idaho, where the town may be small but the drama is bigger than the Rockies! Thank you, Author’s Lounge for showcasing this story and giving it a home in readers’ hearts.
In Mountain Treasure, the first book in the Treasure Valley series, you’ll follow Owen and Paige’s stories as they meet and begin their love story, fighting to keep it alive despite epic challenges facing them and their small town.
Paige Connors is certain of two facts: she loves her job as a traveling pediatrician, and she will never, never end up in her hometown of Banberry, Idaho. However, when a strikingly handsome former Marine moves in next to Paige’s family, he tests her resolve in a way that has her reconsidering her life’s choices.
Owen Johnson isn’t sure why he decided to settle down in the quaint, rural town of Banberry after a kinetic career in the military almost cost him his life, but as he gets to know his neighbor, it becomes clear to him that the why and how aren’t as important as his need to be with her.
When an accident changes one of them irrevocably, will the two be able to put aside their fears, their pasts, and find healing in the other, or will it be too late?
I know I sound biased, but I love this book and series and how in-depth they go into the actual Treasure Valley of Idaho in the fictional town of Banberry. I fell in love with the characters as I wrote them and wished I had them as friends in real life (especially Owen! Yum!). From hysterical Steve, the auto mechanic with a dry sense of humor, to Brad, the local teacher-turned author, to Aurelie, Paige’s best friend from Turks and Caicos, everyone there has a story to tell and will get a chance to do just that throughout the series (see below for the order of books). I hope you all feel the same if you pick it up—the sense that you are home, that you are welcome, that you are one of the crew. (Of course, the “you” to whom I speak are those who have an affinity for a well-told love story, one with internal and external conflict and secondary characters you’d love to sit and share a beer—or glass of Chardonnay—with at the end of the day.)
This particular story—Mountain Treasure—is a blend of my new love of writing and reading romances and my first love of military-themed novels. In MT, I was able to explore the nuance of Marines and soldiers coming home with PTSD and finding something else to live for, as well as allowing for part of that new zest for life to include a love story. As a former combat-Marine spouse, I wanted to explore post-military life realistically and envision what the possibilities could look like. I am proud of the result, and think you’ll like the character growth Owen goes through as he fights for what he wants his life to look like after a decade spent at war with himself and for his country.
However, the inspiration for the story didn’t start with my life as a military spouse. That real-life experience came in handy later, but the idea for MT actually came from book two in the series, Forbidden Treasure, that I wrote first, but which is now the second book in the series. When I finished writing FT—the love story of Brad and his college friend, Sophie reuniting after failed long-term romances with other people—I realized I wanted to know more about Brad’s sister and her husband, Owen, a former Marine. They only came up in the story a few times, but they had such an interesting dynamic that as an author and reader, I found myself endlessly curious about their romance that led to an eventual wedding and HEA.
So, I did what any author would do in my position, I wrote the prequel to Forbidden Treasure, which, of course, became Mountain Treasure. It was picked up by two publishers almost immediately, but I landed on selling it to Cobblestone Press, a renowned small press of erotic romance (oh yeah, my book is a little on the spicy side, though I wouldn’t categorize it as erotica). The rest is history. They bought book two almost immediately after and both books released in 2020 in e-book format as well as paperback.
In keeping with the theme and Treasure Valley series arc, I am about to finish a working draft of book three, Island Treasure, which sees not only Aurelie’s love story take form, but the hero of her story taking a leading role in saving the town from a developer with a sinister agenda. I will send it off to my publisher in January with the hopes that they see the same promise in this iteration of the town’s story as they did with Mountain Treasure.
Thank you all for taking a look at Mountain Treasure, and to Author’s Lounge for the space to share this story and world with you.