Spotlight & Giveaway: All He Ever Dreamed by Shannon Stacey

Posted January 14th, 2013 by in Blog, Spotlight / 79 comments

Today it is my pleasure to welcome back New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Shannon Stacey to HJ!

We are celebrating the release of All He Ever Dreamed, the sixth book in the Kowalski series

Thank you so much for inviting me to HarlequinJunkie!


The inspiration for All He Ever Dreamed, the sixth book in SSmy Kowalski series, took hold while I was writing the third. In Yours To Keep, Sean Kowalski mentions how much he disliked growing up at the Northern Star Lodge. He wasn’t suited to having a stream of strangers coming through his home year after year. It made me wonder how Josh, who’d been left running the family business by default because he was the youngest, would feel about it.


Josh’s relationship with the lodge changes in All He Ever Needed, the fourth book in the series, when his broken leg brings his brothers home to help out. Pride a strong stubborn streak had kept him from confessing not only his resenment at being left holding the bag, but the fact things were getting tight financially. There’s no way to hide it once Mitch and Ryan are around.


AHEDWhen All He Ever Dreamed opens, the Kowalski family is working toward an end goal of Josh being able to leave the Northern Star Lodge and Whitford, Maine, so he can have the same freedom to make his own way in life his older siblings did. Of course it’s just his luck that, at the same time it looks like he might be able to leave town, he might be falling for his best friend.


Giveaway: Shannon will be giving away 2 $10 GC’s and a copy of ‘All He Ever Dreamed’


To Enter the giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form below and post a comment to this Q: My husband and I are motel (or hotel) kind of people, rather than bed and breakfast lovers, but what about you? What’s your ideal place to stay: hotel, cozy bed and breakfast, or a cabin out in the woods?


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Text Copyright © 2013 by Shannon Stacey

Chapter One

Josh Kowalski’s life could be summed up in just a few words—thirty years’ worth of itches he couldn’t quite scratch.

He itched to get out of Whitford, Maine, and away from the Northern Star Lodge. He itched for adventure and travel and a job he’d chosen, rather than one chosen for him before he was even born. He itched to find the woman who’d make him want to forsake all others until death do they part. There was no medicated powder to cure those kinds of itches, either. All he could do was bide his time, and that had gotten harder with every passing year.

This year, though, things were looking up. Josh grabbed a six-pack out of the fridge and bumped the door closed with his hip since he was clutching a bag of stolen baked goods in his other hand. Breaking his leg back in July had sucked. But his brothers coming home to help out at the lodge, giving him the chance to let them know he resented being left holding the bag just because he was the youngest, had been his big break.

“You heading out?”

He almost dropped his beer. In her sheepskin-lined-suede winter slippers, Rosie was almost silent as she moved around the lodge. “Yeah. Half hour until kickoff.”

Rose Davis had been the housekeeper at the lodge for as long as he could remember, but when Josh’s mother died when he was only five, she’d become much more than that. She was as close to a mother as he could have. That meant, of course, that he was thirty years old and essentially still lived with mom. No wonder he had such a hard time scratching that need-a-woman itch.

“If you—” She broke into a coughing fit and Josh frowned. A bad cold had gone around Whitford a while back and Rose had ended up with pneumonia. She’d bounced back pretty well, but he didn’t like the sound of that cough. “If you see Katie, tell her I said hi.”

“Maybe I should stay home.”

She scoffed and waved her hand. “I’m going to curl up with my knitting and the Criminal Minds marathon. The last thing I want to listen to is you screaming and swearing at the television in the other room.”

“You had pneumonia, Rosie. If you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll end up back in bed.”

“Is that my banana bread in your bag?”

“You’re trying to change the subject.”

“You’re stealing my banana bread.”

“You told me you wanted to lose a few pounds, so really I’m doing this for you.” He was busted, but he didn’t even break a sweat as she raised an eyebrow at him. “Even though you’re perfect the way you are, I just want you to be happy. Eating this banana bread won’t make you happy, but it’ll make my friends—including your daughter—very, very happy.” 

Rose laughed, but it quickly deteriorated into another bout of coughing. Josh didn’t like it, but it passed fairly quickly and she waved away the concern she must have seen on his face. “You think you’re a charmer, Joshua Kowalski, but I’ve had your number since you were four years old and told me you peed on the back of the toilet so I’d always have something to clean and your parents would keep paying me. You were doing that for my sake, too.”

“See? I’m always thinking of you, Rosie.”

She shook her head and made a shooing motion with her hand. “Go. Take the banana bread. And I bet you put a dent in the cookie jar, too.”

Busted again. He’d dumped at least a dozen oatmeal raisin cookies into a baggy to supplement the loaf of banana bread. Usually a guy didn’t bring baked goods to watch a game with his buddies, but nobody in Whitford could resist goodies from Rose’s kitchen. He preferred chocolate chip cookies himself, but Katie liked oatmeal raisin and, if he was going to steal her mother’s cookies for her, at least they would be her favorite.

“You have your cell phone in your pocket?” he asked before he opened the back door.

She nodded, patting the pocket of the thick cardigan she was wearing. “I’ll call you if I need you.”


“I’m fine, Josh.” She gave him a tender look and his heart squeezed when he thought about how sick she’d been at the beginning of November. It had scared the crap out of him and he didn’t want a repeat of that anytime soon. She’d been well enough to celebrate Thanksgiving at the new home of his brother Mitch and his wife, but he was constantly worried she was pushing too hard. It had been ten days since then, which meant almost a month since she’d gotten sick, but he still worried every time she coughed.

“You’ll call me if you need anything at all?”

“I promise. Now, go, so I can make my tea and get back to my show.”

He went because the sooner he left, the sooner Rosie would curl up with her tea, knitting, and her show. But, as he climbed into his truck and fired up the engine, he wondered what was going to happen when the Northern Star opened for the season in a couple of weeks. If Rose hadn’t bounced back to her usual self by then, he was in trouble.

The easy answer was to hire one of the teenage girls in town to help out around the place for a while. They’d done that in the past occasionally, but for the past few years they hadn’t been able to spare the money. They already had a record number of bookings this year, thanks to the woman who handled all the internet stuff for Mitch’s company. She had revamped the lodge’s website and gotten them on Facebook and such, but every dollar they paid extra help was a dollar less in the profit column. Profits were the key to Josh’s freedom, so he’d wash the bedding and scrub the toilets and make the beds himself if he had to.

But he’d worry about that tomorrow. Weekdays were for work, but today was for football, friends and food. Sometimes he was convinced those few hours each Sunday when he could sneak away from the home and business that had consumed his life for as long as he could remember—although when the snow was really good, he couldn’t get away even on Sundays—were the only things that had kept him from just saying “screw it” and walking away.

So he’d drink beer, eat stolen banana bread and yell at the television. Katie would give him a hard time and he’d end up making some stupid bet with her. Hopefully, the Patriots would win and the good mood would carry him through Monday.

But when he parked his truck alongside the few that were already in the yard, Josh didn’t see Katie’s Jeep. She never missed Sunday games at Max’s house, and a glance at the clock told him it was almost time for the kickoff, and the Pats were playing the early game.

With all the germs the people of Whitford had been spreading around the last couple of months, maybe she was sick. The thought dampened his enthusiasm a little. He liked hanging with Katie and he’d even risked the wrath of Rosie to steal oatmeal raisin cookies for her.

He told himself he’d give her a call if she didn’t show or text by the end of the first quarter, just to see if she was sick. Watching football without Katie wouldn’t be quite the same.


Katie Davis wedged her ancient but much-loved Jeep Wrangler between two pickups and grabbed the grocery bag of munchies off the passenger seat. She was running late, but one didn’t show up at Max Crawford’s house empty-handed, so she’d run into the market for some junk food. Fran had been in the mood to talk, of course, so paying for a couple bags of chips and three tubs of dip had taken almost fifteen minutes.

The big white truck with Northern Star Lodge on the sides was hard to miss, so she knew Josh was already inside. He made it to Max’s whenever he could, but it was still nice to have the advance warning. She’d become quite the actress over the years of hiding how she really felt about her best buddy, but she still needed a few seconds to take a deep breath before going onstage.

The stage, in this case, being Max Crawford’s living room. He lived alone, loved every sport but golf and tennis, and had the biggest television in Whitford. Nobody was quite sure what he did for a living—something to do with the high-tech security system in his basement, which had Rosie convinced he’d be the inspiration for a future episode of her beloved Criminal Minds. But as long as he had the games in HDTV, and three battered leather sofas, nobody asked too many questions.

Max was in the kitchen when she went in the side door. He was a tall, blond, really built, sports-loving hottie who did absolutely nothing for her. And she’d tried. No matter how often she looked at his handsome face and made a mental catalog of all the reasons he’d be so right for her, however, her body refused to cough up so much as a hiccup in her pulse. Nothing.

“Hey, Katie. Wasn’t sure you were going to make it.”

“Fran was feeling sociable.”

“Ah.” Max took the bag from her and peeked inside. “Yes! Nobody else brought dip. You saved the chips.”

She rolled her eyes and left him with the bag so she could go to his gigantic fridge for a soda. “Bet somebody already stole my corner.”

One of the comfy leather sofas was a sectional and Katie’s favorite spot was the corner. She could pull Max’s Bruins throw blanket off the back and make herself a nest. Even though they all generally sat in the same place, she wouldn’t put it past somebody to take advantage of her being late to steal the prime couch real estate.

“Like Josh would let anybody take your spot.”

Katie froze in the act of pulling up the tab on her soda. What was that supposed to mean? The can hissed as she finished opening it so she could wet her mouth. “He doesn’t care where anybody sits as long as he can see the screen.”

“Maybe not ‘anybody,’ but he cares where you sit.”

She snorted, making a show of how stupid she found that observation. No matter how much she wanted it to be true, the last thing she needed was to be a topic of conversation for the guys.

“I don’t think he even knows it,” Max continued, “but he definitely puts out a vibe.”

“What vibe?”

“The Katie sits near me vibe.”

“I don’t know what you’ve been smoking, but you might want to cut back.” Katie had been waiting for Josh to put out that kind of vibe for most of her life—and she’d just skipped celebrating her thirty-third birthday—so if there was one, she wouldn’t have missed it.

It wasn’t as though she’d been sitting in some tower her entire existence, pining away for her oblivious prince. She’d dated. She’d even had a few serious relationships, but, in the end, none of them were Josh. No, if there was a vibe, she would have felt it.

“Everybody in this town knows you’re his girl but him.” Max didn’t seem to notice the heat she could feel lighting up her cheeks like a stoplight. “You should…I dunno. Wear some lipstick and put some of that crap on your eyes.”

“Makeup? I don’t think so.”

“Men notice that stuff.”

“I have worn makeup before, you know.” Not often, but for the occasional funeral or wedding. “He didn’t do any kind of cartoon double-take and walk into a wall.”

“Maybe you need more.”

“I’m not doing my face up like a clown to get him to notice me, Max. This is me and this is always going to be me, so if I don’t do it for him like this, then I don’t do it for him at all.”

“He just needs a nudge.”

“I’ve known him my whole life. The only thing that nudges Josh Kowalski is a softball bat upside the head.”

“And yet your soft, nurturing nature hasn’t drawn him in yet. I’m shocked.” Max dumped the entire bag of chips into a cheap plastic bowl.

“Bite me, Max.” She took the bowl and the dip and walked into the huge living room. When he’d moved to town and bought the place, Max had removed some walls and let the space absorb what had been a formal dining room.






79 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: All He Ever Dreamed by Shannon Stacey”

  1. Anne

    Motel is the norm for us unless there is a particular trip which has a lovely B & B. I did stay in one which was wonderful.

  2. Chris Mead

    We don’t get away very often but I’d love to stay in a cabin in the woods! Thanks for the awesome contest and the lovely excerpt!

  3. Shevaun

    I always stay in hotels, but I would LOVE to be able to stay in a bed and breakfast. Preferably in Ireland!

  4. amel armeliana

    A cabin in the wood. I’ve always want to try that, but of course without any serial killers hang around *grin*

    Thanks for this giveaway.

  5. Sharlene Wegner

    Definately a hotel or motel. I think there is more of a chance of it being clean & bug free!

  6. Belinda

    I like a cabin in the wood with heat and air conditioner. Love to wake up with the sun and lots of nature.

  7. Cris

    I’m a poor little grad student, so my accommodations generally tend to be hostels with zero amenities. Though I did go scuba diving at a luxe resort in a remote corner of Fiji last year, which was loads of fun :D.

  8. beckymmoe

    For a longer vacation, we like to rent a cabin or condo big enough for everyone to have some of their own space. If it’s just a short trip, hotels all the way. We spent one night at a B&B during our honeymoon (the rest was camping. In a tent. Did I mention we were camping? And yes, it was my idea. We were young–and broke–we actually had to leave the park to SHOWER. Still, it was an awesome trip to my favorite place–Maine :)) and it was nice, but I’m not a fan of enforced time with people I just met.

  9. Ellie F

    I’m a bed and breakfast kind of girl. I love how cozy they feel and the small towns. Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. Shannon G.

    Hmm, I travel quite a bit for work and I like staying in hotels – Fairfield Inns are nice (comfy beds and waffles! LOL). I haven’t stayed in a B&B and I grew up camping so I’m pretty picky about that. I just like having a night away from home every once in a while.

  11. Kai W.

    I have always been a motel/hotel person. I never had the opportunity to stay at a bed and breakfast. I have heard that it is more of a cozy, homey kind of hotel.

  12. Amy R

    I have never stayed at a bed and breakfast, so I don’t know about that. I enjoy hotels and sometimes cabins in the woods, as long as there aren’t any bugs. My least favorite part about camping. 🙂

  13. alisha woods

    B&B while living in England when I was a child we traveled a lot. We stayed at many B&B’s and loved them

  14. Alicia Jespersen

    Me and my family love staying Yurts, they are big enough to have real beds and they have heat for those cold nights, where a tent just is too small and freezing cold.

  15. Kim

    I am SO NOT the cabin in the woods person! Hotels completely work for me. Room service and a HUGE bathtub I’m good.

  16. Lisa H

    Husband and I love to travel. And unless the lodging is the ”main event” of the trip. haha We try to keep it simple. Keep it cheap as possible while still safe and clean. When we go on vacation, we like to take advantage of the time. So hotels all the way for us. 🙂 lisakhutson @ cox. net

  17. Kyla R Whitley

    Hi! Definitely bed and breakfast. It would be nice to have a home cooked meal by someone other than myself. A cabin in the woods, would be a close second. Thank you for sharing! 😀

  18. Barbara E.

    I’ve never stayed in a bed and breakfast, but I think it would be a lovely type of place to stay. I do enjoy a nice hotel, I always feel pampered when I stay in one.

  19. Pennie M

    If I could get my hubby anywhere it would be a cabin in the woods, that would mean someone would have to come take care of the critters for us though.

  20. Michelle Harlan

    We love B&B’s. We prefer the ones where you stay in a small cabin on the caretaker’s property. We try to take a long weekend at least once a year for ourselves. Definitely something to look forward to!

  21. Annwitch

    I am definitely a hotel girl. My husband likes to laugh and say my idea of camping is staying at the Disneyland Hotel. I can safely visit the jungle, old west etc from there.

  22. Yazmin Rangel

    Even though I haven’t been, my ideal place (dream place) to stay would be a cabin out in the woods. 🙂

  23. Rachel M

    I’ve never done it but my husband and I always talk about a cabin in the woods. I need space and I feel like that would just be so peaceful!

    Thanks for this opportunity! This hs one of my favorite series!

  24. orchid7

    I’ve never had the opportunity to stay in a B&B yet, although I’ve always wanted to. We usually end up staying in a hotel. I’d love to try staying in a cabin too. (As long as it had plumbing!) I’m definitely not a camping kind of girl!
    I love your stories, Stacey. The connections between the Kowalski family really pull you in. I can’t wait to read your next one.

  25. Megan Parsons

    If I had to stay somewhere besides home I’d pick a Cabin in the woods! I love the country life!

  26. Mindy

    I’m all about comfort. I’d give everything to stay in a 5 star hotel and be served. 🙂 But, I’d do with a cabin in the woods, too. 🙂

  27. Lana

    My husband I will openly admit that we like hotels. We stayed in a super fancy once and it was just so decadent that all our worries faded away and we got to sit and enjoy one anothers company with no worries!

  28. Brenda M.

    I cannot wait to read Josh’s story! Ever since the focus has moved to the lodge I’ve been waiting for him!

    • Brenda M.

      and my husband and I love Big Soft comfy hotel beds! So far our favorite was The Willard in Washington DC. We stayed there on our wedding night and is was so plush!

  29. Lisa Filipe

    We usually do a hotel, since we have only taken tropical trips, but soon I would like us to travel to Savannah or Charleston and stay at a romantic B&B. Pre-ordered my copy…can’t wait for my Kowalskis!!

  30. Julie

    Can I have another choice… condo? We have a time share so we always trade into a condo. Love the extra space and ability to cook our own food!

    Josh is pre-ordered, waiting for the pre-order for Liz’s story which intrigues me since we already know the ‘players’. 😉

  31. library addict

    I’m mostly a hotel kind of gal, but would be open to staying at a B&B. The first time I ever played trivia pursuit was a B&B in Wales.

  32. Joanne B

    I’ll pick a nice hotel. I’m not a B&B kind of person. I don’t want to join other people I don’t know for anything, unless it’s my idea.

  33. CateS

    I have always enjoyed staying in B&B’s.. Nothing like waking up to the aroma of baking cinamon rolls…

  34. Carol

    I love hotels! Love a comfy bed that makes me feel like I’m sleeping on a cloud! A big TV and room service! My idea of heaven.

  35. BrooklynShoeBabe

    We’re more hotel and motel people because we don’t want to interact with too many people. One year we rented a cabin! It was really nice even though we had no cell, no cable or internet access.

  36. Karen B

    For the family anywhere that has a pool is great as the house we live in now doesn’t have one. I love it because my 4 kids are good swimmers and I can relax whilst they do their own thing…and it wears them out so they sleep well. Something I’ve always wanted to do is stay somewhere snowy…I live in Australia and we have very mild winters where I live so I’ve never seen snow….one day I’d love to stay in a cabin surrounded by snow.

  37. Chris Brandstatter

    Usually we stay in hotel/motel sort of places – with free breakfast!! I have stayed in a very nice B&B called the Requa Inn on the Northern California Coast – great place to stay!!

  38. Ginger

    I like the cabin in the woods. Being away from everything in peace and quiet is my kind of vacation.

  39. Jennifer Legan

    I am a Cabin in the Woods kinda girl. For the last couple of years my husband and I, along with 2 other couples rent a Cabin for a week, to just get away and have a quiet week with no phones, no internet and no interruptions. We love it.

  40. Natalie S.

    Hotel girl all the way! I’m a city girl, so I need those great amenities…nothing too much – just running water and no threat of bugs.
    That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate nature in its romance. If I need some time with my man, a short hike is perfect…so long as I get a hotel at the end of it.

  41. Christina Brault

    Given those options, I’d go with the cabin in the woods – we are a big camping family, always have been, and my husband and I also enjoy camping sans children when we can!

    • Winnie Lim

      I love B&Bs if the hosts are great. I love that warm welcoming feeling that they bestow upon you and the one on one interaction.

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