Spotlight & Giveaway: Fourteen Days of Valentines by Charlee James

Posted February 10th, 2022 by in Blog, Spotlight / 56 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Charlee James to HJ!

Hi Charlee and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Fourteen Days of Valentines!


To start off, can you please tell us a little bit about this book?:

Savannah Chapman is an innovative, confident builder who gets her hands glittery every Valentine’s Day to carry on her late fiancé’s tradition of donating gifts to the local kid’s club. Being the club’s secret cupid comes at a price, though, and she can’t move forward until she lets go of the past. When the club contacts her to honor an expired expansion proposal, Savannah is torn once again between past and present until the club’s volunteer psychiatrist makes her an offer that could be her one chance to move on.

When psychiatrist and club volunteer Adam Kelly discovers the woman he met by chance is the Caring Heart Kids Club’s incognito cupid, he offers to shoulder the responsibility of the secret Valentine program. However, she’ll need to honor the outdated proposal to add a new wing to the club. Together, they’ll discover bravery is finding the strength to move forward, despite the unknown that lies ahead.

Please share your favorite lines or quote(s) from this book:

That was why he’d celebrate friendship on Valentine’s Day with the children at the club, but there would be no need to pick up armfuls of red flowers or heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. Alone wasn’t always lonely. So why did his mind keep circling around thoughts of silver eyes and high cheekbones dusted with glitter?

She tore her gaze from the glazed confections and looked up into the steady eyes of a stranger. He was waiting expectantly, but all she could focus on were his eyes. They shared a likeness with the rustic planks she’d stained to a deep walnut in her last build. Or maybe rich, earth-scented soil. Both solid, enduring things. He gave off a vibe of stability, something she’d been missing out on the past few years.

Most concerning of all though, the thing she absolutely did not want right now was the quickening of her heart. The unfurling tendril of excitement. The exhilarating and breathless sensations spreading through her chest. The light that sparked in her belly warming her from the inside out.


What inspired this book?

I love writing about ordinary people who lead extraordinary lives just by being good humans. They might be broken in some ways or jaded by life, but at the end of the day, they choose to do the right thing, help others, and impact their communities.


How did you ‘get to know’ your main characters? Did they ever surprise you?

After writing Savannah, I realized she had quite a bit in common with my cousin Kelsy, a home inspector who has a wealth of knowledge of buildings. They both are confident powerhouses who can get the job done. I wanted to give Savannah a unique roommate and was happy to share my love of reptiles through Gilbert, the bearded dragon. Reptiles have always fascinated me, and I’m lucky to live with my bearded dragon and northern blue-tongue skink.


What was your favorite scene to write?

My favorite scene to write was when Adam discovers the woman he recently stood next to in line at the bakery is the person who has been making secret donations to the club each Valentine’s day.

She was carrying the last box to the door when dual streams of light cut through the rain as it rode hard along the blustering gales. Headlights. Darn it. She risked a brief glance over her shoulder. In that moment of preoccupation, the toe of her boot jammed up against something hard. The box flew out of her hands, her body jerking forward with the same inertia. The unforgiving pavement raced up to break her fall, her chin connecting with the ground in a dull thud. Cringing, she rolled onto her back, sitting upright. With hesitant fingers, she touched right below her bottom lip where a biting sting had her blinking back involuntary tears. A sticky substance coated her skin. Blood, she confirmed when she glanced down at her hand. Blood mixed with mud. Great. Maybe the person who parked their car in the space right alongside her truck—even as the entire freaking parking lot remained empty—hadn’t seen her fall and she could go about her business without being bothered or peppered with questions.
“Are you okay?” An insistent and maybe even familiar shout accompanied the slam of a door. Too deep to be Tracy or Mr. Gray, but her stomach clenched all the same. The clap of shoes splashing across the pavement had her glancing up just enough to make out rubber-soled oxfords headed in her direction. A divine intervention wasn’t going to help her explain the secret valentines scattered about, drenched. Just for a moment, she rested her forehead against her knees. A sinkhole would be welcome right now. “You’re bleeding. Do you want me to call for help?”
She sighed and lifted her gaze. And her heart began to pummel the walls of her chest. Warm eyes filled with compassion stared back at her. Eyes that materialized in her mind too often since that morning at the bakery. They weren’t just brown, but rich, complex, and hiding a world of compassion and understanding. Recognition flooded the lacquered depths, sparking new light in his gaze. He remembers me. A thrill shocked her system. She found him very memorable, too.


What was the most difficult scene to write?

I don’t like my characters being in pain, just like I don’t like those around me to be in pain. Adam has particular insecurities about trust and rejection. He has to dig deep to work out his emotional hang ups, but the reward is personal growth and his chance at love.

“No matter what I do or who I’m with, I’ll always carry this…guilt. It’s not fair to begin a relationship when I’m not sure if I can move forward. Be happy.” The breath she released from her lungs tugged at his heart. She didn’t think she was worthy of happiness, and that cut him to the core. He wanted to be the person to show her how worthy she really was. Could he trust enough to give her what she needed?
“Savannah, you’re not the only one with baggage. Not the only one who’s made choices they wish they hadn’t. Part of the reason I went into psychology was to help people make sense of the difficult things in life. To move forward in a positive way. Trust has been hard for me for a while now.” She had stripped herself bare. Allowed herself to be vulnerable. Maybe trust was hard for him, but Savannah was offering him honesty. It was raw and real and so damn perfect. He drew in a fortifying breath, anchored by the faith she’d just placed in him. “The past few years, I’ve focused more on my professional life than the personal, but I like you. A lot. I want to get to know you better. Learn everything about you. If I’ve been holding back, you haven’t been the reason. I was avoiding your question in the parking lot because it’s always tough to talk about the time you were rejected. Trust, emotional intimacy, those things have been tough for me. You’re the first person I’ve been tempted to try again with.”
Her eyes enlarged, her features softening with pleasure. “Oh.” Her utterance was so soft, he almost missed it. “You don’t have to tell me the story behind it. I don’t want to drag up something that hurts you.”
He shook his head. “You’re kind. You think of other’s well-being first, but you’re also able to guide people and be a leader. I admire that so much. Scoot over here. There’s no reason to waste perfectly good body heat.” Maybe he wanted Savannah in his arms for selfish reasons, but he’d also stopped feeling his backside twenty minutes ago. She had to be freezing, too.
She stood in one fluid motion and sat in the open space between his legs, her back to his chest. “I guess you’re right. We’re not in a life or death situation, but this cold is uncomfortable.”
“Uncomfortable might be too mild a word,” he said. Savannah chuckled, her shoulders bobbing against his chest as she laughed. She fit against him just right. When her teeth chattered, he drew her in closer, rubbing his hands over her arms for warmth. He couldn’t deny that he liked having her so near. Enough that her cherry-vanilla scent filled his lungs, enough to feel the rise and fall of her breaths against his body. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her even closer. Her back was strengthened with lithe muscles that could carry all her troubles. He didn’t want to add more to them, but if he leaned on her, she’d shoulder the weight.


Would you say this book showcases your writing style or is it a departure for you?

I write both sweet contemporary romance and steamy romantic suspense. There are many things I love about both styles of writing.


What do you want people to take away from reading this book?

Focus your energy on positive relationships with those who embrace all that you are. You are amazing and enough, just as you are.


What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?

The third book in the Northampton Hearts series, Six Days of Spring, will release on May 12, 2022.


Thanks for blogging at HJ!


Giveaway: A $15 Amazon Gift Card and a signed copy of Fourteen Days of Valentines (US only)


To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: What type of book relationship do you enjoy the most? Slow-burn or insta-love?

I love that instant, soul-deep connection if I had to choose one to read. Total conviction that the person you just met will play an essential role in your life.

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Excerpt from Fourteen Days of Valentines:

CUPID’S COUNTDOWN: 14 Days until Valentine’s
VALENTINE’S HINT FROM THE HEART: Doesn’t matter what street you live on, what clothes you wear, or how you look. What matters is on the inside. The choices you make when no one else is around. The hands you use to help another kid get up off the ground after a fall. The voice you use to speak up when someone else is hurting. The heart you use to offer kindness.
Question: What did the cracker say after reading the cheddar’s valentine?
Answer: That was cheesy.
Savannah Chapman’s chuckle echoed through the empty living room of her two-bedroom apartment in downtown Northampton, Massachusetts. There’d been a time when she couldn’t read Peter’s corny jokes without tears soaking her cheeks, or that deep, crushing pull in her chest. Now, even though her late fiancé’s words tugged her heartstrings each February, they were also a reminder of the good in the world. People like Peter, a dedicated elementary school teacher, who believed that with some humor and a bit of encouragement, every child could soar. The printer churned out the Valentine’s Day note into her waiting hands. Doing this in the evening before she went to bed would’ve been a smart idea, but she’d been sucked into a good book again and put it off until morning. That’s why she was doing arts and crafts at five o’clock in the morning. She smeared glue over the pink construction paper cut into the shape of an oversized heart, positioned the note in the center, and peppered the valentine with red and gold glitter. Because, well, what kid didn’t like a boatload of the messy stuff?
“Sorry, Gilbert.” A shimmering fleck landed on her bearded dragon’s forehead. He tilted his head at the sound of her voice, and she could’ve sworn his inquisitive gold eyes sparked with annoyance. Or maybe she spent way too much time talking to the leathery, tan lizard. She’d gone into the animal shelter in search of a feline companion, but a tank in the corner and its lone inhabitant drew her for a closer look. When she’d peered through the glass, the reptile honest-to-goodness lifted one paw—hand?—and waved at her.
Waved at her.
Even though the shelter associate explained the gesture was how they expressed submissiveness in the wild, she was so charmed she didn’t even look at the cats. She’d spent the next month learning everything there was to know about lighting and heat and food sources for her new pal.
“Come on. Back to your digs.” She opened the front of Gilbert’s enclosure and slid him on his favorite basking rock. “Man, you’ve got it good. Want to trade places? You go finish up this build, and I’ll work on my tan under that heat lamp.” She laughed when he flopped down and stretched his head up toward the light.
Shaking her head, she went to the kitchen to wash her hands before getting ready to leave her apartment. Dry and clean, she walked back to the computer and gingerly tucked the card in between fifty boxes of unopened crayons and new pads of paper destined for Caring Heart Kids Club, an after-school program for disadvantaged children. Each donation came with some type of message that included CUPID’S COUNTDOWN, A VALENTINE’S HINT FROM THE HEART, and a FEBRUARY FUNNY. Each year, she recycled Peter’s words in the gifts to the club, the very same one he attended in his youth. Some days it felt good to carry on his tradition of donating supplies, toys, and clothing in the fourteen days leading up to Valentine’s.
Sure, it made February a bit hectic, but as a builder, she was her own boss. Thank goodness for that. Some days though, it dragged her into the past. A place she was desperately trying to move forward from. She laced up her steel-toed boots and stretched into her durable canvas jacket. As usual, she gave the hallway mirror no more than a quick, passing glance. Her blond waves were tucked up in an elastic band where it wouldn’t catch in any of her building equipment. When she did a client consult, she made a point to wear a blouse and nice slacks. Today though, she was putting the finishing touches on a quaint colonial home in the suburbs of the small city she called home.
First things first, though. Monday was her day to buy the crew breakfast to kick off the workweek. Savannah hoisted up the box of art supplies and started down the three flights of stairs. She paused halfway down, a grin tugging at the corners of her cheeks. The stained glass window was her favorite feature in the beautiful, old building. The green, red, and blue mosaic was dark and flat now, but once the sun rose, splashes of color would dance along the wooden banister. She was trying to enjoy the little things more, like the way the light played off of the intricate window design. There was a pang in the center of her chest. Sometimes it was like Peter was murmuring advice in her ear.
The move across town to her third-floor walkup was supposed to be a fresh start, and she’d been lucky to get this apartment. The two friends who had shared it both got engaged and moved in with their significant others right after the holidays—at least that’s what the Realtor told her. She loved her new place, but three years and a ten-mile relocation from the condo she’d shared with Peter didn’t dull thoughts of what could’ve been. Or how things had ended. Shaking off the melancholy, Savannah continued down the stairs and through the lobby to her pickup truck. Spotlights illuminated the sidewalk, and the air was crisp and still. She hit the automatic lock and slid the big haul onto the passenger’s side seat before rounding the front of the vehicle and hopping behind the wheel.
The small city was slowly waking as she pulled away from the curb. Artisan shops housing a treasure trove of local goods snapped on their lights. Early risers and university-bound students sought their destinations on foot with bulging backpacks and take-away cups clasped between cold hands. Available parking spaces around her destination were sparse and it was only quarter to six—she was running behind as usual. As personality flaws went, it wasn’t too horrible. A large brass teakettle hung over the coffee shop, and she wasted no time killing the engine and slipping out of the truck. Her boots slapped against the solid concrete as she dropped to the ground. The wait time for bakery goods was brutal if you didn’t time things right. As it was, a line had already formed in front of the faded brick counter. The bell fixed to the top of the glass door jingled as she swung it open. Cinnamon- and nutmeg-scented heat wrapped around her as she stepped inside. Chrome-colored machines hissed and frothed, steam pluming with rich and bitter espresso. She shifted and checked the time on her phone. An earlier start would’ve been smarter.
“Go ahead. I have a really large order.” A deep baritone cut through the murmur of conversation and the shuffle of activity in the café.
She tore her gaze from the glazed confections and looked up into the steady eyes of a stranger. He was waiting expectantly, but all she could focus on were his eyes. They shared a likeness with the rustic planks she’d stained to a deep walnut in her last build. Or maybe rich, earth-scented soil. Both solid, enduring things. He gave off a vibe of stability, something she’d been missing out on the past few years.
She cleared her throat. Morning chatterer she was not, at least before she consumed her second cup of coffee. “I’m feeding my crew, so unless you have a pack of hungry wolves outside, you can go first.”
“Worse, actually.” His expression was serious. “Fifty kids I lost a bet to.”
She let out low whistle. “I’d hate to be on the losing end of that wager.”
“The opposite, actually.” He smiled now, a small, tentative quirk of his lips. Light came into his eyes, and it was staggering.
“Now I’m intrigued. What was this bet?” She returned his smile, enjoying the exchange—a surprise given the lack of caffeine. Usually people kept their heads down, glued to their phones in a line, something she appreciated at times. Speaking with this man though was interesting, and seemed to make the line move more quickly.
“For two weeks, each kid had to write down something they liked about themselves, something positive, or maybe something they’d achieved that they were proud of.” The stranger tucked his hands into his pockets, and the barista called for the next person in line to come forward.
“I’m impressed and that’s not an easy feat at this hour of the morning. Not with the unquenched coffee-goblin living inside me. It’s so hard to be a kid. All the pressure, the future looming. Not to mention any problems at home.” She couldn’t stand class reunions where everyone pined over the good old days—she certainly didn’t. As an active kid, squirming at a desk all day had been torturous.
“Exactly.” There was a gleam in his eyes, one that looked a lot like appreciation. Her chest expanded, and she straightened a bit. She never needed anyone’s approval, but for whatever weird reason, it felt good to have his and she didn’t even know his name. “By first grade, there’s already a distinction between the popular kids and the general population. In a perfect world, everyone would be accepted.” He extended his hand.
“Savannah Chapman.” His wide palm and long fingers were massive wrapped around her more petite hand. Warmth radiated from his smooth, firm grip, making it hard to let go.
“Savannah.” Her name rolled off his tongue and sounded exquisite in his deep baritone. “I’m Adam Kelly.” He smiled at her. “Your hands are positively freezing,” he said after a beat.
“I left my gloves in my toolbox last night.” When he released her hand, the cold came seeping back.
“What do you do?” Interest lit his gaze, and he leaned closer. He wasn’t handsome in the traditional sense, but there was something arresting about his features. Rugged, solid. He looked like someone you might be able to depend on. Her chest squeezed. This was the first time she’d taken notice of any member of the opposite sex since Peter’s passing. How bittersweet. Maybe she was healing and moving forward, but she’d never get involved with someone like that again only to lose them. All the plans and promises, dreams and hopes, dashed with one ring of the doorbell.
“I’m a builder. And you?” A couple left the register with their purchases, and they inched forward another few spaces in line.
“A psychiatrist and a volunteer counselor over at Caring Heart.” He glanced up at the handwritten menu scrawled in chalk above the counter, then back at her.
What the heck was she supposed to say to that? She struggled for something to respond with, anything really, but couldn’t concentrate with the ringing in her ears. What were the odds? Why did the one man she’d felt a spark of something with have to work at the nonprofit organization closest to Peter’s heart?
“It’s a before- and after-school program to help parents who can’t afford childcare. Have you heard of it?” He stared at her expectantly, so she nodded and focused her attention on the checkout counter. She wasn’t trying to be rude, but the past was assaulting her with guilt-laden memories, harsh reminders of emotional wounds suddenly rubbed raw. She looked past him to the pink and red heart cutouts swooped across the brick exterior, the tinsel hearts suspended from the ceiling above, and the bagels, doughnuts, and pastry decorated in globs of themed icing and confections. They silently mocked her. What was the point of love if you could lose it in a breath? One moment she could look back at the fond memories they’d had together, while at others, the guilt and grief slammed into her, ripping opening a dark, terrible pit inside her stomach.
“Next.” Never had she been so grateful for the impatient call of a cashier.
She gave the intriguing Adam Kelly a brief glance. “Does that offer still stand?”
“Yes, Savannah, it does.” There was her name again, a slow roll off of his tongue. She skirted around him and placed an order for a dozen heart-shaped bagels in pink and red swirls—the guys would get a kick out of that—extra cream cheese so she wouldn’t face a mutiny, and a gallon of coffee for her team of six. They could do some damage to a food order—present company included. She inserted her debit card chip into the reader as the barista bagged her items. She was debating what to say to the man who’d just let her take his spot in line, but he was already engaged in a conversation with the cashier. For the best. If she could get out of here first, she’d beat him to the children’s center. She could put the donation outside the front office, where someone would receive it almost immediately. No one would even know she’d been there. Just as she liked to keep it.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Book Info:

She’s looking for closure, but he wants an opening…

For three years, contractor Savannah Chapman has carried on her late fiancé’s tradition of anonymously donating toys and cards to the Caring Heart Kids’ Club during the two weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. But knowing she needs to move forward with her life, she decides this will be her last year playing Cupid—until her identity is discovered by a volunteer. Suddenly he’s convincing her to honor a past contracting bid and tempting her to feel things she knows she shouldn’t.

Adam Kelly, a child psychiatrist and club volunteer, is an expert at helping others while always ignoring his own heart. But when he meets the beautiful and kind-hearted Savannah and learns what drives her, hurts from his own past resurface. He strikes a deal with Savannah: if she’ll complete the club’s much-needed expansion, he’ll take over her secret Valentine duties so she can move forward guilt-free.

Will the club be the glue Savannah and Adam can use to build a new life together, or will the past tear them apart?

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Meet the Author:

Contemporary Romance Author Charlee James was introduced to a life-long love of reading listening to her parents recite nightly stories to her and her older sister. Inspired by the incredible imaginations of authors like Bill Peet, Charlee could often be found crafting her own tales. As a teenager, she got her hands on a romance novel and was instantly hooked by the genre.

After graduating from Johnson & Wales University, her early career as a wedding planner gave her first-hand experience with couples who had gone the distance for love. Always fascinated by family dynamics, Charlee began writing heartwarming novels with happily-ever-afters.

Charlee is a New England native who lives with her husband, daughters, two rambunctious dogs, a cat, and numerous reptiles. When she’s not spending time with her tight-knit family, she enjoys curling up with a book, practicing yoga, and collecting Boston Terrier knick-knacks.
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56 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Fourteen Days of Valentines by Charlee James”

  1. Marcy Meyer

    I do enjoy reading both, but there is something about a slow burn that always has me hooked

  2. Tiffany Greene

    Honestly I like both, Slow-burn and insta-love ! Look forward to reading Fourteen Days of Valentines! Thanks so much for the opportunity!

  3. auntiemissmaria

    I really enjoy both! Slow-burn stories are exciting, seeing the chemistry & intensity build up between the 2 characters, and insta-love stories are fascinating because of the attraction that happens instantly, seemingly out of nowhere.

  4. Eva Millien

    Mostly I love slow burn, I love the thrill of the build up, the delight of the first stirrings of passion and deeper feelings, and the satisfaction of really getting to know the characters, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy an Insta Love romance occasionally as long as they have a real story to go with it! Thanks for sharing and have a fantastic day!

  5. Amy R

    What type of book relationship do you enjoy the most? Slow-burn or insta-love? Insta-love, I am not a fan of slow burn as I get bored.

  6. Crystal

    It depends but I would go with slow burn because I like it when the the girl/woman plays hard to get.
    Book sounds like a great read. Would love to read & review book in print format.

  7. Jennifer Shiflett

    Insta love is better than slow burn, in my opinion. I am not a fan of books that just drag out the connection for over half or 75% of the book.

  8. anna nguyen

    slow burn because when love happens, it feels even hotter. its more realistic

  9. Patricia B.

    Slow burn is my preference. Insta love doesn’t seem realistic. Instant attraction, yes, but not real love.