Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Sneak Peek Excerpt & Giveaway - - Mermaid Beach

Mermaid Beach
by Sheila Roberts
Moonlight Harbor - - Book 7
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: April 25, 2023

Bonnie Brinks and her all-woman band, The Mermaids, are the pride of Moonlight Harbor. They’re the house band at The Drunken Sailor, and that’s just the right amount of fame for Bonnie. A lifetime ago, she went to Nashville to make it big, but she returned home with a broken heart and broken dreams. Now she’s got a comfortable life and a brilliant daughter, Avril, who plays for The Mermaids alongside Bonnie and Bonnie’s mother, Loretta.

Avril has big dreams of her own. Her life in Moonlight Harbor is good—she loves singing and playing guitar with The Mermaids, and she has the sweetest, most loyal boyfriend a girl could ask for—but it all feels so…small. She can’t help wondering if there’s something more out there for her. And she doesn’t understand why her mom won’t support her going to Nashville to find out.

Meanwhile, Bonnie threw in the towel on her love life long ago, but Loretta sure hasn’t. She’s determined to be swept off her feet, and she wants the same for her daughter. When the hunky new owner of The Drunken Sailor turns the tables on the band and Avril announces she’s leaving Moonlight Harbor, Bonnie’s comfortable life seems to be drifting away. Will these three generations of Mermaids find their happy endings on the Washington coast? Or will the change in the winds leave them all shipwrecked?

Mermaid Beach

“Let’s go play some pool,” Lee said, after he and his buddy, J.J., walked into The Drunken Sailor. “You can check out the house band.” 

You got a house band? What are they, a bunch of grungy kids in their twenties?” 

Lee smiled at that. “Not quite. It’s a chick band.” 

“A chick band. Interesting. So, grungy chicks in their twenties.” 

“Nope. Mother, daughter and granddaughter. They had another, but she’s off to Nashville to try to become a star. They’re still good though, especially the lead singer. That woman sings like an angel, sometimes like a little devil. And she is something fine to look at. They’ve really been packing in the crowds on the weekend.” 

“That’s good.” 

“The place is doing well,” said Lee. “I know you shouldn’t do business with friends, but since you were in the restaurant business and since you’re the man with the business degree, I thought I’d give you first crack at it.” He suddenly looked wistful. “I kind of hate to let the place go. It’s like losing a part of me.” 

J.J. nodded. “I know how you feel. I hated to let go of my places. Did it all for nothing,” he said bitterly. 

His words brought on an awkward silence. He should have kept his shit to himself. He shook off the downer moment. “Let’s shoot some pool.” 

“Good idea,” said Lee. “And, J.J., I get you not wanting to get sucked into this business again. I’d have liked you to be the one who takes over The Drunken Sailor, but no worries. The right owner will show up.” 

Maybe the right owner had shown up, J.J. thought as they drank beer and waited their turn at one of the pool tables. The place was packed. Lots of out-of-towners, but Lee said he had a ton of regulars who came in during the week as well. Line dancing lessons were offered on Sunday afternoons followed by line dancing. A lot of the old guys came in midweek to play darts, and Lee had recently started a ladies’ night, with half off on drinks on Tuesdays and pool lessons taught by some of the better players, including a guy named Seth Waters, who had been a regular before he got married. According to Lee, he still came in to play pool on Sundays while his wife and her girlfriends line danced. 

“You’ve done a great job of making this the place to be,” J.J. said as they moved to take their turn at a table that had opened up. 

“I like to think so,” said Lee. “Thank God I got lots of good free advice from a pro when I first started.” 

“What are friends for?” J. J. responded. He selected a cue stick and chalked it up. 

“Go ahead and break,” Lee said. 

J.J. took aim at the cue ball, sending it clacking into the others. He sank one of the striped ones and then proceeded to clean the table. 

“Save some for me,” Lee protested. 

“Oh, yeah, I can’t let you lose. It would hurt your delicate feelings,” J.J. taunted. 

“And then I’d hurt your delicate nose,” Lee shot back. 

J.J. did miss the next ball. He stood back and let Lee take his turn. 

It was the end of the game for him because he caught sight of a woman with long red hair, a face that would launch a thousand ships, and legs that wouldn’t quit entering the place. She wore a short black leather jacket, hanging open to reveal a low-cut green top covering a very nice rack. Those fine legs were encased in tight jeans. She wore black boots that made him think of pirates and was carrying a guitar case. Holy Moly! Was that a member of the band Lee had told him about? 

Lee caught him staring. “That’s Bonnie Brinks, one of The Mermaids.” 

“I wouldn’t mind hooking her on my line.” 

“Fat chance. She’s a smiling ice maiden. Been single for years.” 

“Maybe she’s tired of being single,” J.J. mused. 

“Don’t hold your breath. But hey, she sure dresses up the place.” 

J.J. suspected that was about all she did. Lee had a tin ear. He’d probably hired the woman for her looks, despite his claims of her angelic singing. 

Behind her came a younger woman, tall like Bonnie but with darker coloring. Also a looker. And next to her walked a woman who’d never gotten the memo that she was a senior citizen, also wearing tight jeans and heels high enough to trip Tina Turner. She sported spiky white hair and the tips of the spikes were colored green. The mother. His mother sure didn’t look like that. This woman probably had every old geezer in the place ready to take her out. With all three women being so striking maybe nobody cared what they sounded like. 

“Had enough pool?” asked Lee. 

“I think I’ll go over to the bar and get another drink,” J.J. said. 

He snagged the last seat at the bar, one near the end next to a scruffy old dude in faded jeans and a peacoat, ordered another beer and watched as the women tuned up. They couldn’t sound as good as they looked. 

“The band’s good,” the old guy said. “They sing good, too,” he added and chortled over his crack. 

“You know them?” J.J. asked. 

“Of course. Everybody knows everybody here,” the old guy informed him. 

“Looks like this is a popular place,” J.J. observed. 

“Best burgers in town. Plus they have a senior menu.” 

Lee came up behind J.J., hovering like a salesman in a used car lot. “Hey there, Pete. I see you’ve met my pal J.J. This is Pete,” he said to J.J. “He’s one of our regulars. He won our last darts tournament.” 

“Beat out all the young pups,” Pete bragged. “You play darts?” he asked J.J. 

“Don’t take the bait,” said Lee. “He’ll just sucker you into a friendly wager and take your shirt.” 

“Aw, there you go, spoilin’ my fun,” Pete complained. 

A full house and steady patrons. It would be kind of cool to own this pub. A lot of work and time, but it wasn’t like he had much going on in his life anyway other than some day trading, hitting the gym and reading. In the last year he’d bought enough books to stock a small library. He needed something more to do. Lately, he felt like he was drifting with no purpose, no adventure on the horizon. What kind of adventures could he have here in Moonlight Harbor? 

At nine on the dot the hot redhead stepped up to the mike and said, “Hey everyone, let’s get this party started.” 

J.J. would have loved to start a party with her. His fingers itched to play with that gorgeous red hair of hers. 

She looked back at the granny on the drums, who began to bang her drumsticks together, counting off the beat, then the young girl hit the bass and the redhead began to bend those guitar strings all to hell. People rushed to the dance floor as she started to sing. “Get off your chair and get out here and shake your booty. You gotta start this party, so get out there and do your duty.” 

J.J.’s heart went into overdrive. This place was a gold mine, and Bonnie Brinks was the gold. What a voice! The woman was a superstar. He wondered what she was doing buried in the sand of a small beach town. 

“So whaddya think? The place is a good investment, right?” Lee said in his ear. 

“I’d say so,” said J.J. “Looks like the band is bringing in a lot of customers.” 

“We had a lot of customers even before the band,” Lee said. “People want to eat at a casual place with lots of atmosphere when they’re at the beach.” 

“You definitely got the atmosphere,” J.J. said. The goofy carved pirate statues were an obvious hit. He’d seen several people taking pictures with them. The pool tables had been in constant use since they’d walked in, and the beer was flowing. Lee did have a going concern. The band and dance floor were a bonus. And what a bonus that band was. 

The women finally went on break, the older one stopping at a table to say hello to some people. The younger one went to plop down next to a supersized young buck at a table near the bandstand, where her drink was already waiting. A boyfriend, of course. The guitar queen headed for the bar, stopping for a quick word here and there, deflecting a fat lounge lizard, nodding and smiling at something another patron said. 

She came up to the end of the bar next to J. J. and Lee. “Great job as always, Bonnie,” Lee said. 

“Thanks,” she said. Then to the bartender, “Got my Diet Coke, Madison?” 

“On its way,” the woman said and got busy getting her drink. 

“You’ve got a great band,” J.J. said to Bonnie. 

“Thanks,” she said. Her smile was a stop sign. Not interested, so don’t even try. 

What did he look like? Some middle-aged, desperate horn toad? He was just being friendly. There was no need to give him the ice treatment. 

He decided to turn the charm up a notch. “I always wanted to meet a mermaid.” 

“Now you have,” she told him, still with the stop sign smile. The bartender set down her glass, and Bonnie thanked her, the ice melting from her smile. But it was back again for J.J. “Try the garlic fries here,” she said to him. “They’re great.” Then she left before he could get in another word. 

Mermaids were not so easy to catch. 

“Don’t put her on the welcoming committee,” J.J. muttered. 

“Told ya,” said Lee. 

Slick and charming and no ring on his finger, which, considering his age—around hers—probably meant he’d ditched a wife somewhere along the way, Bonnie decided as she walked to the band table. With those blue eyes and that red hair and matching, neatly trimmed beard, he looked like some kind of troubadour from the Elizabethan era. Add broad shoulders and a well-sculpted chest, and he was a regular pheromone factory. 

And that stupid line about meeting a mermaid. Oh, yes, he was a charmer. 

Who did that remind her of? Rance Jackson, of course. 

Let’s get to know him, urged her sex-starved hormones. 

Not happening, she informed them, even though he was as tempting as sin. She could almost feel the tickle of that beard on her skin. But this was the kind of man who broke hearts—trouble in Levis. There would be no getting to know him. 

Put a Mr. Yuck sticker on him and stay far away. 

“It ain’t over till it’s over,” J.J. told his pal, quoting the famous Yogi Berra. 

“It ain’t even started,” Lee taunted. 

“I’ll find a way to start something,” J.J. vowed. 

He continued to watch Bonnie Brinks throughout the next set. She’d been mellow enough talking with Lee, visiting with patrons, but when she was singing those fast dance songs she caught fire. The fire turned to warm embers when she sang a love song, enough to probably make every man present fantasize about sleeping with her. She sure had that effect on J.J. 

What would it take to break the ice? 

He wasn’t the only one wondering that, if the tool who was trying to corner her by the bandstand was any indication. He was probably early forties, tall with legs like tree trunks and the arms of an overzealous body builder—or a dude on steroids. 

She cocked her head and looked up at him as he smiled down at her. He said something that dimmed her smile and moved in closer. She shook her head, tried to move to the side. He mirrored the move, giving her a smarmy smile in the process. 

“Uh-oh,” said J.J. 

Some men didn’t read road signs so well, and this guy wasn’t seeing the same stop sign she’d given J.J. He was the kind of jerk who gave men a bad a name. 

J.J. started to get off his stool. This goon needed a lesson in manners. 

Lee caught his arm. “Don’t bother.” 

“She needs help,” J.J. said, shaking it off. 

“No, she doesn’t. Watch.” 

J.J. watched reluctantly, ready to rush over the second the jerk laid hands on her. 

He started to, reaching out to catch a lock of her long auburn hair. 

“Okay, that’s it,” J.J. growled. 

“Yep, it is,” said Lee as Bonnie sweetly smiled at the dude and stomped on his instep. 

Sadly for the guy, he was wearing sneakers, and her spike heel drove into his foot in a way that had his mouth dropping in pain and him hopping on the one good foot he had left. She gave his arm a there-there pat, and left to join her mother and daughter and the supersized kid at their table. 

“Wow,” J.J. said. Bonnie Brinks really was something else. 

“The woman can take care of herself,” said Lee. 

No knight in shining armor needed. Darn. So much for impressing her with his chivalry. 

But she had to need something. Everyone did. Whatever it was, he hoped he could be the man to give it to her. Maybe he should buy the pub.


PJ, here. I've read an ARC of Mermaid Beach and it's one of my favorite stories in Sheila Roberts' heartwarming Moonlight Harbor series. This book has complex, relatable, multi-generation family dynamics, chasing dreams at a variety of ages, starting over, humor (love her humor), emotional depth, and more than one couple I was cheering for. It features some secondary characters who will be familiar to readers of the series but also works well as a standalone. It's a great place to jump into the series for those who have yet to visit Moonlight Harbor. 

Do you sing? Have you ever been in a band? 

Are you familiar with Sheila Roberts? Have you read any of her books? Are you reading the Moonlight Harbor series?

Is there a career dream you'd like to chase if given the opportunity?

THREE randomly chosen people who post a comment before 11:00 PM, March 16 will each receive a print ARC of Mermaid Beach. 

*U.S. only
*Must be 18

About Sheila Roberts

Before launching her author career, Sheila Roberts owned a singing telegram company, wrote music and played in a band. Now Sheila is the USA Today bestselling author of more than 50 novels, including ON STRIKE FOR CHRISTMAS, which was made into a Lifetime Network movie. Also adapted for the small screen, Sheila’s THE NINE LIVES OF CHRISTMAS is a perennial Hallmark channel favorite, and CHRISTMAS ON CANDY CANE LANE debuted on The Great American Family Channel in December. The author has sold more than three million copies of her novels. A cancer survivor, she is a sunny extrovert who loves to entertain her girlfriends and readers at author events and visit with book clubs. Sheila resides in a Washington state beach town with her husband, who is also an author.

For more information about the author, visit        

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  1. I started reading/visiting Moonlight Harbor thanks to you PJ. I really enjoy Sheila’s stories.
    I can’t carry a tune but I love music. I took piano and guitar lessons. Unfortunately I have no sense of rhythm and can’t differentiate different notes or keys.
    Currently I’m retired. I’m enjoying babysitting my grandchildren. We still have rental property that keeps us busy when someone moves out.

  2. Yes, I’ve read several books by Sheila. Never a band but in several choirs. Life has been kinda helter skelter but loved it anyway.

  3. I absolutely love the Moonlight Harbor series, and everything written by Sheila Roberts! I can't sing or play any instruments but love listening to music, the radio is always on in my kitchen. My only dream job was being a stay at home mom and taking care of my family and that's exactly what I have done!

  4. Reading this series now. Ready to start the 3rd one. Never been in a band but love to sing but only in car and church. Thanks for the chance.

    1. Forgot to add my name. Jennifer Kayes

  5. Haven’t read any of her books . This would be cool to read. Carole Brawn

  6. I would LOVE to read this!!!

  7. I used to sing. I was in a musical, in a trio once, and in a choir. I had to have my thyroid and para-thyroid glands removed. In order to get everything they needed to get out, things came very close to my vocal chords. In fact, when I came out of the anesthetic, they had people there to make sure I could speak. I can't sing, and I miss it a great deal. I am a fan of Ms Roberts, and you have made me want this book. Thanks so much for introducing me to the Mermaids. This is not a series I have started yet. I thank you for this terrific excerpt and introduction. You always do such nice things for me. .

  8. I was in church choirs as a child and in college, but not a great singer.

    I've read lots of Sheila's books but haven't read this series yet - I bet I'd enjoy it.

  9. Patricia Bennett BarberMarch 15, 2023 at 11:34 AM

    Yes I lover her and Yes I have read her books and Yes I love that series!!!!
    I can't wait read it!!!!! Thanks for the chance!!

  10. My email is I don’t know why it’s saying anonymous. I have a lot of Sheila Roberts books and I love them. Thank you so much for the chance. 😊

  11. Love Shelia's books they are always an amazing read. When I was in my early20's it was always a dream to be an Airline Stewardess and travel all over the world. Thanks for your great generosity. Linda May

  12. I don't sing - I used to play an instrument in band in school. I have not read books by Sheila Roberts, though this series looks interesting.

  13. I enjoy Sheila's books. I can't sing.


  14. I can't carry a tune in a bucket!! I have read her books, but not this series. This one sounds like a book I'd really love. Thanks for the chance to win.

  15. Sheila Roberts is one of my absolute favorite authors. Her stories and characters have such depth, heart, humor, and "realness." I love the way her books deal with multiple generations giving them their due and dealing with the real issues they face. I have read a few of the books in this series and have one on my TBR mountain. I also have enjoyed several of her Christmas books, Do I sing, yes, but not as well as I used to. Practice does make a difference. I belonged to a folk group one summer when I was in college. We performed at the resort where we worked other jobs.
    I have been lucky enough to do many of the things I wanted to. I would like to have been an author, but at my age, I don't think it is time to start. I do still create stories in my mind for myself, but that is it. The only career I would like to have had is something in the travel industry. Maybe someone who travels checking out places to travel - hotels, dining, what to see & do, and/or as a travel writer. Patricia Barraclough

  16. Sounds like a great read though I haven't read any of Sheila Roberts books yet. I love to sing though I do not do it very well. But I do enjoy it! Susan Chew