Lafayette Mardi Gras Photographer John Weatherall

Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler!

Louisiana native John Weatherall captures perfect parade pictures.

Mardi Gras season officially kicks off today, and if you’re from Louisiana, then this is probably one of your favorite times of the year. Whether it’s a small local parade or a big city celebration, nothing can quite compare to the bustle and excitement of Mardi Gras in the South. But have you ever thought about who captures these moments? Who brings these memories to life with dynamic photos and videos that tell stories of the revelry and celebration that makes this time of the year so unique? One such photographer is Louisiana native John Weatherall, who specializes in capturing Mardi Gras with fun-filled videos that capture perfect moments along parade routes. In this blog post, we’ll find out who his influences are and why he loves Mardi Gras so much.

(Side note: I had the privilege of teaching John and have enjoyed watching his success grow every year. And with my own love of Mardi Gras, this was a fun blog to do!)

How long have you been taking pictures?

My interest in photography started back in April of 2007. My parents purchased a Sanyo Point and Shoot Camera for me to take photos of the family. It wasn’t until November ’07, during my Junior Year at Northside High whenever they invested in a Sony A100 DSLR. From there, my interest grew tremendously!

My interest in videography started in the late 1990s. My Mom and Dad filmed all of our home movies growing up and showed me and my sisters how to operate the VHS camera. It wasn’t until January 2001 whenever I was able to operate the camera on my own. We were on our way to Baton Rouge to visit my sister, and I was able to document our trip to and from that; I fell in love with photography! I still have that video saved at home.

What inspired you to become a photographer?

It would have to be my love for capturing moments that most people don’t think of or forget to capture. Going through our family photo albums, I would always say, “Why didn’t we get this moment on photo or video?” but of course, I feel the best moments are whenever you’re not documenting and living in the moment. But my goal is to capture those moments that people tend to not think about!

Who are some people that have influenced you throughout your career?

Photography-wise, I’d have to say Dave Hill, Alex Stoddard, Brooke Shaden, and more recently Joe Greer (Film Photographer). Videography-wise, I’d have to say Ray Roman Films, Dennis Films, and Hype Williams!

Tell us what your favorite projects have been so far.

Definitely my Mardi Gras recap videos I put out every year. They have taken a life of their own for sure. Aside from Mardi Gras, I’d have to go with my We Ready Saints Hype Video I shot back in 2019. I remember that week being crazy because I traveled all down I-10 from Lake Charles to New Orleans, filming different Saints fans all in four days!

Now, speaking of Mardi Gras and the subject of this interview, let’s assume it’s someone’s first Mardi Gras. What advice do you give him or her?

Prepare for a long day! No seriously. Mardi Gras is a great experience but can be draining if you don’t prepare for what’s ahead. My advice would be to stay hydrated at all times, be sure to check out the parade route in advance to pick a spot you want to set up. Arrive early!

Everyone is like family along the parade route, so you’re bound to meet new friends and have fun before the parade rolls. I’ve also received messages from people who are unsure about attending a parade alone. Trust me, it’s just as fun. Since 2004, I’ve been attending several parades by myself and have always had a great experience. Lastly, have fun and catch lots of beads!

What’s your favorite thing about Mardi Gras?

The people. I can’t tell you how many people that I’ve met over the years at the parades that I still keep in contact with to this day! Can’t forget about the King cakes. My go-to spots are Meches and Jak’s Donuts for their King Cake Cronuts.

Where can we find you on social media?

I’m on TikTok, Instagram and Twitter under @johneweatherall and YouTube under John Weatherall III.

Is there anything else you would like us to know?

Be sure to look for me on the Krewe De Krunk float during Mardi Gras. And also special thanks to my parents John and Prenella Weatherall for getting me started in videography as a kid, my best friend Gerald Gruenig for pushing me to post Mardi Gras content on TikTok, which blew up in 2022, and lastly Lance Ruffins with Krewe De Krunk.

A.L. Vincent Books

The Bon Chance Boonies series is the perfect read for anyone who loves Louisiana, food, friendship, and family. These heartwarming stories will make you laugh, cry, and feel like you are home. Click the link below to buy your book today!

Bon Chance Boonie Amazon Page

Book Review ~ A Southern Lights Christmas

Book Blurb:

A Minnesota man, determined to spend a Christmas in a milder climate with no snow, books a two week stay at the Southern Lights Mistletoe Lodge in southwest Louisiana. Mack develops an immediate camaraderie with his across-the-hall neighbor, Natalie, a widow of one year, there to escape the over-protective smothering of well-meaning family members. When a rare and far-reaching Arctic blast covers the south with a foot of bone-chilling, wet snow, Mack and Natalie experience the reality of winter in a southern town. Can the two new friends keep each other warm and toasty through the inconveniences of closed roadways, frozen pipes, and frigid temps?

My Review:

Being from Louisiana, I’m always delighted to read stories about Cajun country by local writers. This short Christmas romance didn’t disappoint. A Southern Lights Chrismas was absolutely DeLIGHTful! I love the slow and steady romance between Mack and Natalie. It was a very real romance between characters I felt like people I know. The details with all the local places and Louisiana culture were lagniappe! Definitely recommend this one! 

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A Southern Lights Christmas: Christmas at Mistletoe Lodge

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One Magick Yule ~ Book Review

Book Blurb:

Living in a remote part of eastern Kentucky, Taylor McKenzie has secrets to keep. As an author of mystery novels, she writes under a pen name to avoid intrusion into her life. As a witch, she talks to animals and performs magick that she prefers to keep to herself. Ben Partin needed to get away from life after a recent romantic relationship went bad. His grandmother had just the place at her abandoned farm in rural Kentucky. As a romance author, he was suffering from the worst kind of writer’s block ever. How could he write romances when he didn’t believe in love anymore? Two meddlesome dogs and a blizzard on Christmas Eve manage to unravel secrets and open doors for the two solitary writers.

Book Review:

I’m a sucker for stories with unique characters and storylines. This book has both. I love that Taylor could talk to animals and that each animal had its own character and voice. Happy, the raccoon, was a definite scene stealer, literally. Highly recommend this sweet Christmas romance.

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One Magick Yule

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Foodie Friday: Hello Fresh Recipe Review

Old School BBQ Pork Sloppy Joes

Hello Fresh is a great choice for single people who have trouble preparing healthy meals. Not only do they make it easier to plan meals, but the recipes are also designed to be simple and quick to make. Plus, you can choose from a variety of nutrition plans that suit your lifestyle.

The cost of a meal delivery box from Hello Fresh, can be pricey for a family. But, for a single person, being able to turn one meal into two or even three can make this into a more affordable option. For example, I paid $46 for two meals this week. I was able to split this particular recipe into two weeknight meals and brought some for lunch to work. I prepared the second recipe last night so, as of now, I’ve made four meals from this box. This puts the price per meal at $11.50 but will go down as I see how far the second recipe stretches. I still have enough for at least one dinner or lunch.

The convenience of Hello Fresh makes it ideal for those who are short on time. No more having to go food shopping or wasting food because you don’t use it in time. Everything you need comes pre-portioned and ready to cook, so all that’s left is the fun part – cooking!

Plus, the variety of recipes available can help keep things interesting. You won’t find yourself eating the same food over and over again. From classic comfort food to adventurous dishes, Hello Fresh has a recipe for everyone.

Finally, the food reviews from other customers can help give you an idea of how difficult or easy your chosen meal is to make. This makes it easier to gauge if the dish is something you want to try or not. Keep reading for my own review of Old School Sloppy Joes!

Recipe Review

I’ve always been a fan of sloppy Joes so I was excited to try this recipe. Sloppy Joes are also a fast weeknight meal, which is definitely something I need. I end up ordering way too much takeout if I don’t have something quick and easy to cook at home. This recipe didn’t disappoint. The twist with pickled onions was interesting and topped these tasty sandwiches perfectly. It’s a trick that I’ll be including when I make sloppy Joes in the future. As with most foods I cook at home, I added some of my own tweaks to the recipe and this time that included added some chipotle peppers I had on hand. I chopped one up and added it to the meat mixture and also added some of the liquid to the ranch sauce. It added a bit more heat without being overpowering. If you’re sensitive to spice, I don’t recommend this step.


  • Recipe included a side making it a bit more budget-friendly
  • Portion size. I made three meals out of this one.
  • Just enough spice
  • Easy to recreate at home
  • I had extra pickled onions for other recipes


  • 980 calories
  • A little dry when reheated

All in all, I give this one a solid five stars, and would recommend to anyone looking for a quick and tasty weeknight meal. I will definitely make this one again.

Hello Fresh is a great food delivery service for single people who want to have healthy, homemade meals without having to go food shopping or spend hours in the kitchen. With a variety of recipes to choose from, you’re sure to find something that fits your taste and lifestyle.

Want to try a FREE box from Hello Fresh? Click here to redeem your box today!

5 Cajun Cookbooks for Christmas

Chicken and sausage gumbo cooking in an iron kettle.

It’s that time of year again when we all start thinking about what gifts to give our loved ones. If you’re looking for some ideas for the cook or foodie in your life, why not consider a Cajun cooking book? There are lots of great options out there, and I’ve put together a list of my favorites.

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1. Complete Cajun Cookbook: 100 Home-Cooked Bayou Classics

Cook like a Cajun with 100 authentic recipes

Cajun food has deep roots in home-style country cooking and the rich heritage of Cajun culture, which combine to create unique flavors you can’t find anywhere else. The Complete Cajun Cookbook makes it simple to capture those flavors in your own kitchen, with detailed instructions for mastering regional cooking techniques and a comprehensive collection of beloved recipes.

What differentiates this book from other New Orleans cookbooks:

  • An overview of Cajun cooking—Get a crash course on the history of Cajun cuisine, and learn how to master regional cooking techniques.
  • Tips for stocking a Cajun kitchen—Discover the ingredients that set Cajun cuisine apart, and find an easy recipe for throwing together your own Cajun seasoning.
  • Classic and creative recipes—Explore an enticing mix of traditional favorites and modern Cajun cooking, from Seafood Gumbo to Corn Maque Choux.

Bring home the vibrant flavors of New Orleans with this top choice in Louisiana cookbooks.

2. Mosquito Supper Club: Cajun Recipes from a Disappearing Bayou

For anyone who loves Cajun food or is interested in American cooking or wants to discover a distinct and engaging new female voice—or just wants to make the very best duck gumbo, shrimp jambalaya, she-crab soup, crawfish étouffée, smothered chicken, fried okra, oyster bisque, and sweet potato pie—comes Mosquito Supper Club.
Named after her restaurant in New Orleans, chef Melissa M. Martin’s debut cookbook shares her inspired and reverent interpretations of the traditional Cajun recipes she grew up eating on the Louisiana bayou, with a generous helping of stories about her community and its cooking. Every hour, Louisiana loses a football field’s worth of land to the Gulf of Mexico. Too soon, Martin’s hometown of Chauvin will be gone, along with the way of life it sustained. Before it disappears, Martin wants to document and share the recipes, ingredients, and customs of the Cajun people.
Illustrated throughout with dazzling color photographs of food and place, the book is divided into chapters by ingredient—from shrimp and oysters to poultry, rice, and sugarcane. Each begins with an essay explaining the ingredient and its context, including traditions like putting up blackberries each February, shrimping every August, and the many ways to make an authentic Cajun gumbo. Martin is a gifted cook who brings a female perspective to a world we’ve only heard about from men. The stories she tells come straight from her own life, and yet in this age of climate change and erasure of local cultures, they feel universal, moving, and urgent.

3. Growing Up Cajun: Recipes and Stories from the Slap Ya Mama Family

Take your meals to the next level with this flavor-packed cookbook from the Slap Ya Mama family.

Growing Up Cajun invites you to explore Cajun traditions, the history behind the Slap Ya Mama name, Cajun lore, and some of the most prized recipes in Louisiana—all flavored with Walker family stories.

4. The Easy Creole and Cajun Cookbook: Modern and Classic Dishes Made Simple

From Louisiana to your table with love―50 authentic Cajun and Creole recipes

Welcome to the perfect way to start cooking up sweet and savory Southern flavors in a flash. The Easy Creole and Cajun Cookbook makes it quick, easy, and affordable to spice up mealtime anytime with lots of crowd-pleasing one-pot and 30-minute options.

From authentic Shrimp, Sausage, and Grits to aromatic Crawfish Bisque, this complete Creole and Cajun cookbook delivers everything you need to get started simmering up these timeless and tasty family favorites at home. Get expert tips on how to stock your pantry, must-have kitchen appliances, and how to create and use local seasonings like the magical Cajun Trinity of fresh onions, celery, and bell pepper. Bon appetite!

5. – The Cookbook: la cuisine de mawmaw 

The original cookbook is back! Enjoy the 15th Anniversary reprint of our original 2004 recipe book. Packed with 350 classic Cajun recipes such as gumbo, boudin, etouffee, cush cush, beignets, fried frog legs, fried turkey, bread pudding and many more of the recipes for which Cajuns are famous.We first made this cookbook in 2004 when we were in our early 20’s. We had real Cajuns type them and we’re presenting it to you, as it was presented to us, typos, Cajun-isms and all. This charming cookbook has been praised as the perfect Christmas, Wedding, Birthday or Graduation gift.Just how Cajun is this cookbook? Well, we hail from Vermilion Parish in Louisiana aka “The Most Cajun Place on Earth” and co-author Chrissy was even born on Mardi Gras. So you can rest assured knowing that true Cajuns put this collection together to represent nothing but the best recipes of our culture, from Cameron Parish to Lafourche Parish. Good eating from real Cajun people – dis cookbook gonna show you how!

Cajun cuisine is a delicious way to bring some spice into your Christmas cooking this year. These five cookbooks are great resources to help you create Cajun masterpieces in your own kitchen. So what are you waiting for? Click the titles of the books to buy your copies today! And don’t forget to invite us over for dinner once you’ve gotten a chance to try out some of the recipes. We can’t wait to see (and taste) what you come up with!

Tangled up in You Book Box

Hello Readers! 

I hope this blog finds you all well and happily reading! I wanted to update everyone about my newest product, book-themed boxes! This one is all about the first Boonie book, Tangled up in You and has a signed copy of the book and several other fun items related to cooking and reading. If you’ve read Tangled, you know how Emily loves to cook! And if you haven’t read it, now is an excellent time to get a SIGNED copy! The boxes would make great Christmas gifts for the reader in your life and can be shipped directly to the recipient.

Also in the box:

  • Louisana Love Spice Blend
  • A postcard from a character in the novel
  • Jelly Belly Jelly Beans (Emily’s favorite candy!)
  • A candle and votive cup (scents and colors will vary by box)
  • And other goodies related to reading or the cooking theme of the book.

Boxes are $30, and that includes shipping in the U.S. If you’re international, message me for pricing. If you want to share an unboxing video on social media, I’ll give you a $5 discount! Indicate on the order form your username and platform you’ll be sharing on. 

The next box will be released in February, and the book will be That Voodoo That You Do, and I already have some fun things planned! 

To order yours, click link below today! Since this is a new project, I have a limited amount available. If you order by Monday 11/28/2002, at midnight, I’ll take 10% off your order! 

Click Here to Order!

Operation Santa Book Review

Book Blurb:

How much trouble can a man get into while trying to win his estranged wife back? David is about to find out in this humorous novella.

When Marci Hofer becomes fed up with the lack of attention from her husband, David, she decides to leave him. Devastated, he begins a campaign to bring her home. Calling it Operation Santa, he learns what he thought would be as simple as sending her gifts can backfire in the most embarrassing ways.

Will he survive the battle to get her back?

Book Review:

This is a laugh-out-loud funny book that will leave you rooting for the main characters and wondering what shenanigans will happen next!

I love books that I can pick up and finish in almost one sitting, and this one is perfect for that. The prose flows quickly, and before you know it, you’ve been taken on one hilarious ride. I also loved that this was two characters dealing with a real problem. If you’re looking for a lighthearted and fun Christmas read, this is the book for you!

*There are some adult situations in the book, although there are no hanky-panky scenes.

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Operation Santa

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What is a PA for Authors?

Photo by Lisa Fotios on

Are you curious about what a PA for authors is? In this blog post, we’ll discuss what a PA does and how they can help you as an author. We’ll also talk about the benefits of working with a PA and how to find one that’s right for you. So, if you’re curious about PAs, keep reading! This interview with Tessa Russ with Poised Pen Productions will give you all the information to get you started!

What services do you provide for authors as a PA?

At ​Poised Pen Productions, we specialize in connecting readers to
your work with personalized and affordable marketing and
promotional services; Promo teasers, book trailers, book covers,
editing, formatting, beta reading, promotional items, social media
promotions, and so much more…

Why did you choose authors as your focus for advertising?

I have been an avid reader and lover of books all of my life. I began
Poised Pen Productions as a way to help wonderful authors spread
the word about their amazing books.

Tell us a little about Poised Pen Productions. How long have you
been in business? What would you like people to know about your

Since then, we have grown from a one-person company to a team
consisting of 6 full-time and several part-time employees.

My number one goal has always been to provide you with the
dedicated top-notch services that you need and deserve, and to
maintain affordable pricing to fit every budget.

From new author mentoring services to full-blown promotional
campaigns and everything in between. We are here for you every
step of the way.

We hear you also have a podcast too. Share a little about that with
us. What’s it called? What is your focus? Where can we find you?

Book Talk with Tessa & Cindy is the name of our podcast. We have
lively, fun conversations with authors about their books. You can find us
on Soundcloud here:

Where can an author go to find out more about Poised Pen?

You can find us all over social media. Visit our website at to find all of our social media links.

We hear you’re an avid karaoke fan. What is your favorite song to

I love Karaoke! My favorite songs to sing are by Miranda Lambert, I also
love the classic country songs like Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Tammy
Wynette. My husband and I team up on a lot of the 70’s Rock tunes.

What book are you currently reading?

Right now, I am reading The Guardian by Vicki Hinze.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about Poised Pen?

We would love to help new and established authors. Our consultations are
always free. We would love for you to stop by and chat with us.

Being an author is a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. A PA can help take care of some of the more tedious tasks so that you can focus on your writing. If you’re interested in learning more about how a PA can help you out, contact Tessa at Poised Pen Productions.

5 Unique Southern Recipes for Thanksgiving

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

If you’re looking to mix things up this Thanksgiving and try something new, why not try one of these unique southern recipes? From stuffed chicken to turducken to mirlitons, there’s sure to be something here that will tantalize your taste buds. So, whether you’re from the south or just looking to add a little southern flair to your holiday meal, read on for five unique southern recipes for Thanksgiving.

Stuffed Chicken

This dish is a twist on the traditional turkey dinner. A whole chicken is stuffed with a cornbread and sausage stuffing, then roasted to perfection.



A turducken is a turkey that’s been stuffed with a duck that’s been stuffed with a chicken. It’s a delicious, three-in-one meal that’s sure to be a hit at your Thanksgiving feast.



Mirlitons are a type of squash that’s popular in Louisiana. They’re often used in stuffings and casseroles, or simply roasted as a side dish.


Oyster Dressing

Oysters are a staple of southern cuisine, and they make a delicious addition to stuffing or dressing. This recipe uses fresh oysters, celery, onions, and herbs to create a flavorful dish that’s perfect for Thanksgiving.


Corn Maque Choux

This dish is a creole classic made with corn, peppers, onions, and tomatoes. It’s the perfect side dish for your Thanksgiving feast.


These are just a few of the many unique southern recipes that you can make for Thanksgiving this year. So if you’re looking for something different than the usual turkey and stuffing, give one of these dishes a try. Allons manger!

Want to try more Cajun recipes? Check out these cookbooks!

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Complete Cajun Cookbook: 100 Home-Cooked Bayou Classics

Mosquito Supper Club: Cajun Recipes from a Disappearing Bayou

Growing Up Cajun: Recipes and Stories from the Slap Ya Mama Family 

The Easy Creole and Cajun Cookbook: Modern and Classic Dishes Made Simple – The Cookbook: la cuisine de mawmaw

It’s National Louisiana Day!

It’s Louisiana Day! And what does that mean, exactly? Well, it depends on who you ask. For some, it might be a day to celebrate the culture and history of Louisiana. For others, it might be a day to enjoy the food and music of the state. And for still others, it might be a time to reflect on all that Louisiana has to offer tourists and visitors. No matter how you choose to celebrate, there’s no doubt that Louisiana is a unique and special place. So Happy Louisiana Day! To celebrate, I would like to share some of my favorite books set here in this great state! There’s a wide variety of genres here, so there’s something for everyone!

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1. Running out of Rain by Lori Leger

Eventually, all storms break for a little sunshine.

Dr. Cynthia Ellender is devastated when her husband of thirty-three years dies suddenly. A revelation at his funeral leaves her bitter, angry, and determined to leave Oklahoma for good. Maybe a move back to her hometown in south Louisiana is just the right prescription for the good doctor.

John Michael Ferguson has weathered some serious storms in his fifty-three years. At sixteen he lost a sister, and at thirty-nine, a wife. Now, he’s forced to watch his mom lose her battle with Alzheimer’s. A chance meeting with “Cyn” has the semi-retired businessman wanting to bury his past and look to the future. Armed with questionable advice from his wise-cracking, seventy-seven year old father, he vacates the “widower’s bench” to re-enter the dating world with his old classmate.

RUNNING OUT OF RAIN is a mature love story that proves just because there’s a little silver in the hair doesn’t mean the pump isn’t primed for passion.

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2. Promise by Lisa Coots

The small Louisiana town of Cypress Point promises a fresh start for Claire Hebert and her lovable Great Dane Rosie. On the run from a monster, Claire hopes the new job and new town will help her escape her past. Her free spirited friend, Serena, and the friendly folks next door keep her hoping and dreaming of a better tomorrow.

Fate takes a hand — with a little help from Rosie — throwing Claire into the arms of sexy Sheriff’s Deputy, Evan Bertrand. Sparks fly, but instincts steer him away from his parents’ crazy neighbor and her trouble making canine. Will the chaos surrounding Claire be Evan’s undoing, or will their passion live up to its promise?

Mysterious happenings hint at the secrets held in Serena’s house, and warnings of a dangerous reunion threaten to spoil Claire’s promised tomorrow. On Halloween night, during a violent storm, Claire’s monster returns. Can Evan, with the help of a ghostly presence, help her overcome her past once and for all?

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3. Rain by C.K. Leger

Trapped in a marriage with an alcoholic husband she loathes, Kitty Lyons lives with regret daily. When Levi, the only man she ever loved, dies saving the life of a child, Kitty is given the chance to switch lives with Kat, the version of herself who had been brave enough to claim Levi as her own. But what might have been is not always as good as what truly was. To get back to her children, Kitty will have to come face to face with the traumatic aspects of her own past that led her to the choices that ultimately changed her fate.

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4. King Me by Season Vining

Delaney Mills is haunted by darkness. Not of a spiritual kind, but a terrible past that all the rum in the world cannot chase away. Enter Valentine King, a sexy and irresistible man with connections to the world of Voodoo—a world that Delaney is desperately trying to break into.

Chicago-native Delaney follows her dissertation research all the way to the streets of New Orleans. With King’s help, she uncovers a covert group called the Bondye Saints. The group wants to remain a secret and will do whatever it takes to keep the two quiet. But threats and attacks on her life don’t deter Delaney’s desire to expose the Saints’ sins.

While she’s willing to risk her own life, Delaney hates that the one man who can chase away her darkness is put in danger. But Valentine King refuses to let her go. Because in his world built on faith, Delaney Mills is the one thing he believes in.

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5. A House Divided, by Deborah LeBlanc

Keith Lafleur, Louisiana’s largest and greediest building contractor, thinks he’s cut the deal of a lifetime. The huge old, two-story, clapboard house is his for the taking as long as he can move it to a new location. It’s too big to move as it is, but Lafleur’s solution is simple: divide it in half. He has no idea, though, that by splitting the house he’ll be dividing a family–a family long dead, a family that still exists in the house, including a mother who will destroy anyone who keeps her apart from her children.

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Tangled up in You by A.L. Vincent

Can their friendship bloom into the second chance they both desire? Or is history something none of us can escape?

After her alcoholic husband drained their bank yet again, Emily Breaux reached her breaking point. Packing her bags, she retreated back to her hometown of Bon Chance in search of a fresh start.

Contractor Noah Devereaux would love to help her rebuild her dreams. The Iraq war veteran battles with PTSD, yet Emily’s quiet presence offers him a calming solace. More than anything, he wishes for some way to repay her for the peace she brings to his life. But it takes more than wishes to make Emily’s dream of opening her own catering company come true.

Will returning home to Bon Chance, Louisiana be the perfect recipe for Emily to start over?

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