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#NewRelease KISSING KIN from Karen Hulene Bartell

Karen Hulene Bartell visits today with her new release from The Wild Rose Press, KISSING KIN. She shares a couple of excerpts with us, including her favorite from the book. I love a book with a long-forgotten family mystery to solve and a paranormal element to help in the solving! Thanks for joining me today, Karen!

A man kissing a woman in a vineyard.
Kissing Kin by Karen Hulene Bartell

Title – Kissing Kin

Author – Karen Hulene Bartell

Genre – Paranormal Romance

Publisher – The Wild Rose Press

Book Blurb –

Maeve Jackson is starting over after a broken engagement—and mustering out of the Army. No job and no prospects, she spins out on black ice and totals her car.

When struggling vintner Luke Kaylor stops to help, they discover they’re distantly related. On a shoestring budget to convert his vineyard into a winery, he makes her a deal: prune grapevines in exchange for room and board.

But forgotten diaries and a haunted cabin kickstart a five-generation mystery with ancestors that have bones to pick. As carnal urges propel them into each other’s arms, they wonder: Is their attraction physical…or metaphysical?

Kissing Kin Excerpt –

Our shoulders rubbed each time we moved. The downy hairs on the back of my neck tickling from the electricity passing between us, I shivered as the currents barreled down my spine.

“Cold?” Eyes wide, he caught my gaze.

I opened my mouth to speak but, forgetting what I meant to say, lost myself in his inviting brown eyes and could only nod.

He reached his arm around my shoulders and pulled me close, sharing his body warmth.

With the faint scents of leather and saddle soap wafting from his jacket, his nearness was intoxicating, and I was tempted to lean into a kiss. Yet huddled together on the bone-chilling ledge, I gazed instead at the rugged wilderness surrounding us, content to savor the sweet ache of longing. If more is meant to be, it’ll happen.

Then thoughts of Cody froze me like a blue norther. Why did he come to mind?


So close, Luke felt the rise and fall of her chest each time she breathed. Her hair tickled his ear, raising goosebumps--and possibilities. If she turns toward me or gives any sign…But her sigh signaled something else. He side-glanced to read her mood, but she stared at the scenery, apparently oblivious of his rising libido.

“Want…” His voice cracked. Clearing his throat, he tried again. “Want some water?”

“Sure.” She turned her head quickly, her hair brushing his cheek with a citrus scent.

He reached into his vest pocket, pulled out a bottle, and opening it, handed it over.

She took a long swig, then returned it with a smile. “Thanks.”

Not wiping off the bottle, he took a long swallow, sending a subtle signal. Then he offered it to her, watching her response.

Her cheekbones rose, and her lips curved in a halfsmile. Her green eyes sparkling like fireworks, she reached for the bottle, drank it dry, and handed it back. Then with a snicker, she jumped off the ledge. “Weren’t we going to the homestead?”

Surprised by her mixed signals, he laughed. “Your command is my wish. Lead on.”


Favorite Scene from Kissing Kin – and Why

The following scene is one of my favorites in Kissing Kin because it embodies the paranormal romance’s central dramatic question. It’s the moment when Maeve and Luke begin questioning whether their budding feelings for each other are their own--or are prompted by some supernatural force.


The vineyard reflected the rusty-red tones of the late winter sunset.

Dusk. I held back a sigh as I glimpsed the winery and cozy cabin. Heartrending in its homey beauty, the scene tugged at my earliest recollections.

The child of vagabond parents, I was often on the road at dusk, just as the lights began coming on in the houses we passed. Growing up without a permanent address, I fantasized about living in one of those comfortable homes instead of viewing them through the car window.

“Gets dark early in the mountains.” Luke caught my gaze, did a double take, then stared.

“Is something wrong?”

“Your hair…”

“Is something on it?” I swiped at my head.

“No.” He chuckled. “The sunset captures your hair’s highlights--gives it a reddish glow.”

“Oh.” Pleasantly surprised, I gave a nervous laugh as the heat crept to my cheeks. “Thanks.”

He reached out his hand and hesitated. “May I?”

“Sure.” Wondering what he was doing, I quivered as his hand swept my hair behind my ear. As arousing as a caress, the gesture sent a shockwave through my body.

Then his hand molded itself just above my neck, gently supporting my head as he leaned toward me.

Without warning, I ached to feel his mouth on mine.

He leaned closer.

His warm breath tickling, I met him in a rush of hormones and adrenalin. Then lifting my lips, I closed my eyes, reveling in the give and take of his kiss.

Only Teddy’s insistent bark woke me from the daze.

Then, like a fly buzzing at the window, a high-pitched sound droned--squeak…squeak…squeak--as the chair rocked back and forth on the patio.

In the fading twilight, a nearly transparent silhouette emerged.

I pulled away with a scream, and the image vanished.

“What?” He followed my stare.

“I saw a woman…cradling a baby…” I spoke without turning toward him, watching as the chair gradually slowed its rocking, then came to a standstill. “What’s going on?”


An orphan, Maeve Jackson has always yearned for a home and family, but now that she’s starting over after a broken engagement, as well as mustering out of the Army, she’s drawn more than ever before. Add to this a strong physical attraction to Luke that’s apparently reciprocated, and her heart’s racing.

But this haunted cabin--along with ancestors that have bones to pick--kickstart a five-generation mystery. Maeve can't help but wonder: Is her attraction to Luke physical…or metaphysical?


Buy Links –

AMAZON Paperback:

Author Biography –

Author of the Trans-Pecos, Sacred Emblem, Sacred Journey, and Sacred Messenger series, as well as Kissing Kin, Fox Tale, Wild Rose Pass, The Keys: Voice of the Turtle and more, Karen is a best-selling author, motivational keynote speaker, IT technical editor, wife, and all-around pilgrim of life. She writes multicultural, offbeat love stories steeped in the supernatural. Born to rolling-stone parents who moved annually, Bartell found her earliest playmates as fictional friends in books. Paperbacks became her portable pals. Ghost stories kept her up at night—reading feverishly. The paranormal was her passion. Novels offered an imaginative escape. An only child, she began writing her first novel at the age of nine, learning the joy of creating her own happy endings. Professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin, Karen resides in the Texas Piney Woods with her husband Peter and her mews—three rescued cats and a rescued Catahoula Leopard dog.

Social Media Links –


Mar 17

I don’t mind a well-written love scene but after a slow burn leading up to it. Not jumping into bed at first meeting. I love ghost stories, too, so this is going on my wish list. Best of luck!


Mar 16

Congratulations on your new book. For me a romance is about just that. It's about two characters falling in love. I want to see that on the page and fall for the hero myself. An erotica is more for the audience who enjoys the lusty side of a relationship with the romance taking a secondary plot line. Room for both in this world. Best wishes.

Mar 16
Replying to

Love your definition / delineation! I also prefer the emotional to the physical side of romance novels. Thanks for stopping by!


Karen Hulene Bartell


Mar 15

Thank you for hosting KISSING KIN and me today! I have a question for your visitors: SHOULD ROMANCE BE HINTED AT IN STORIES OR EXPLORED? For instance, a phrase in my excerpt is "savor the sweet ache of longing." Thoughts?


Unknown member
Mar 15

Thanks for being my guest today, Karen. Best of luck with your new book!

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