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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Guest Post with Author Julie Brannagh and Giveaway

USA Today Bestselling Author, Julie Brannagh has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She lives in a small town near Seattle, where she once served as a city council member and owned a yarn shop. She shares her home with a wonderful husband, two uncivilized Maine Coons and a rambunctious chocolate Lab.

When she’s not writing, she’s reading, or armchair-quarterbacking her favorite NFL team from the comfort of the family room couch. Julie is a Golden Heart finalist and the author of contemporary sports romances.

Five fun places to visit in Seattle brought to you by Seth and Jillian of CHASING JILLIAN

As anyone who’s read my bio knows, I was born in Seattle, and I have never lived anywhere else. I love my hometown. My characters love it, too. Here are a few places Seth and Jillian might go if you spent some time with them!

1. Seattle Arboretum Boathouse The Arboretum is south of the University of Washington and home to acres of trees and gardens. The Japanese Garden is a must-see, and there’s plenty of room for a picnic. If you’d like a little more excitement, it’s possible to rent a canoe from the boathouse for a reasonable fee and paddle around Lake Washington for a while on a sunny day. One must show ID to rent a boat. Many, many people have lost their ID as a result of falling out of the boat at one time or another…

2. Waterfall Garden Park If you’ve visited Seattle’s Pioneer Square, you’ve most likely passed Waterfall Garden Park and not known it. The park is at 219 2nd Avenue South and surrounded by a lattice wall. It’s a calm oasis in the midst of a bustling city. It features a 22-foot waterfall, a garden (of course!) and a place to sit and reflect for a while.

3. Pike Place Market It’s big. It’s loud. It’s crowded seven days a week. And it is a functioning farmer’s market. The enduring affection Seattle has for the Market continues to grow. It’s easy to find – just follow the long line of cars driving on 1st Avenue or up Western. The best time to visit (and beat the crowds) is a weekday fall/winter/spring morning or an hour and a half before closing time on Sunday. There are so many things to see and do there it’s hard to recommend only a couple, but I will do my best. If you like to drink wine (or want to buy a gift for a friend), Pike and Western Wine Shop is a must. They offer a huge variety and very competitive prices. When you’re done visiting the wine shop, stop by and visit Rachel the Pig, who stands guard across from the flying fish guys in the main market area. If you’ve ever seen a TV show or movie set in Seattle, you’ve seen the fish guys. It’s much more fun to see Rachel.

4. Dance steps on Broadway Capitol Hill in Seattle is full of more things to see and do, but one of the more iconic public art installations is located on Broadway, the “main drag” through the neighborhood. “Dancer’s Series: Steps” has been embedded into the sidewalk since 1982. The bronze shoeprints demonstrate the Cha Cha, Tango, Waltz and other ballroom dances. After you’ve worked up an appetite while dancing your way down Broadway, stop in at the Dilettante CafĂ© for an amazing dessert!

5. The Fremont Troll Seattle is full of the quirky, and Fremont is no exception. It’s billed as “The Center of the Universe”. Mostly, it’s fun. You’ll see the actual statue of Lenin, which is typically decorated to reflect the seasons. Again, there’s a lot to see and do (and eat!) but the real Seattle natives will tell you to stop by and see the troll. Yes, a troll. It’s a huge concrete structure under the Aurora Bridge and open year-round. The Troll is fierce. He’s probably made more appearances in holiday cards than you can count. He’s been there since 1990, and he’ll be there until the apocalypse, most likely.

I hope you’ll visit my hometown sometime. There are a hundred other sights to see. I’ve been here a long time now, and there are still things I haven’t seen or done. I also hope you’ll enjoy Seth and Jillian’s story!

Jillian Miller likes her job working in the front office for the Seattle Sharks, but lately being surrounded by a constant parade of perfection only seems to make her own imperfections all the more obvious. She needs a change, which takes her into foreign territory: the Sharks’ workout facility after hours. The last thing she expects is a hot, grumbly god among men to be there as witness.

Star linebacker Seth Taylor had a bad day-well, a series of them recently. When he hits the Sharks’ gym to work out his frustration, he’s startled to find someone there-and even more surprised that it’s Jillian, the team owner’s administrative assistant. When he learns of Jillian’s mission to revamp her lifestyle, he finds himself volunteering to help. Something about Jillian’s beautiful smile and quick wit makes him want to stick around. She may not be like the swimsuit models he usually has on his arm, but the more time Seth spends with Jillian the harder he falls.

And as Jillian discovers that the new her is about so much more than she sees in the mirror, can she discover that happiness and love are oh-so-much better than perfect?

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She hurried over to the laptop on the little desk in the kitchen, pulled up Google, and searched on Seth’s name. She sank into a chair while she read. He was six foot four, and she practically weighed as much as he did. Well, not quite, but still. She let out a long sigh. He was two years younger than she was. It also seemed Seth had been busy: He was single. “Very single,” according to one of the most recent fan websites she looked at. In Google Images, she found a series of photos of him with multiple tall, dark-haired women, each more gorgeous than the last.

Jillian shut the laptop lid with an irritated “click”, got up from her chair, and hurried into the bathroom. She’d stood in front of a full-length mirror so many times, but it always showed her the same thing. She wasn’t unattractive, but she could use a little more self-confidence and a lot more toning. She wasn’t asking for physical perfection, but she’d like to make some changes. If she made a plan, started slowly and kept at it, she’d see a difference. The biggest changes needed to start on the inside, though. Maybe if she got out a little more, she might meet a guy that was interested in her. Seth was gorgeous, but he wasn’t really in her universe. Jillian went into the kitchen, grabbed a frozen low-calorie dinner out of the freezer, ripped the cardboard lid off, and shoved it into the microwave. Dinner would taste a whole lot better if it was accompanied by half a bag of chips and some Ranch dip. But that wasn’t an option right now. She opened the refrigerator door to look for a fresh vegetable of some type.

She pushed the fridge door shut after a fruitless search and rummaged around in her apartment’s tiny pantry. She located a can of peas. Peas were good. Plus, there weren’t many calories in peas. Maybe she could fill up on them if the diet dinner didn’t cut it.

Jillian’s love-hate relationship with her body and food had started when she was little. Most of the time, there wasn’t enough to eat. She ended up in a foster home at three years old after her mother died in a car wreck, and she was moved a few times before she entered elementary school. Things got a little better for Jillian when she was placed in a more permanent foster home, but she was still so hungry. No matter how much she ate, she wanted more. When she was old enough to make her own money, she made sure there was more than enough, and that’s when the problems began. Even more than a diet or a new workout regime, she needed to focus on the great things in her life. She’d build a healthier lifestyle as a result. Even more than a diet or a new workout regime, change from the inside would last a lot longer. She wanted to build on the goals she’d already achieved and reach out for more of the things she wanted in life: A husband. A family. To belong.

Check out what's up for grabs.

Up For Grabs:
  • 1 Digital Bundle of Books 1-4 in the Love and Football series

To Enter: 
  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter form.

Good Luck! 

Special thanks to Julie Brannagh & Tasty Book Tours for sponsoring this tour-wide giveaway.
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