All Fired Up: A Contemporary Romance by Dylan Newton

Although I loved How Sweet It Is, which is also set in the fictional town of Wellsville in western New York and starred Imani’s friends Kate and Drake, I think All Fired Up is even better! This book includes plenty of fun and laugh-out-loud moments from Imani’s wise-cracking grandmother and her card-playing, whiskey-drinking friends to her foul-mouthed African gray parrot named Lancelot who steals every scene he’s in. Yet, it’s a book that deals unflinchingly with difficult issues including mental health problems and grief and loss. The characters are so well crafted I feel like I know them well. Zander, especially, is one of the most endearing romantic heroes ever. Although he’s a tough, alpha male, strong, capable of handling anything life throws at him and helps Imani over and over, he’s also sensitive, artistic, understanding, and never acts like a jerk.

Imani Lewis is the publicist for horror writer Drake Matthews, known as the Knight of Nightmares, and best friend to his wife, Kate Sweet. Imani has come to Wellsville for the summer to help out her grandmother, who needs knee surgery, and Kate, who is pregnant. Imani carries the weight of guilt over the loss of her mother sixteen years ago in a fire while Imani was away at dance camp. She believes if she had been home, she could have saved her mother. Now, she plans every detail of her life, determined not to make any more mistakes.

Zander Matthews is Drake’s younger brother and owner of three pottery studios. His motto is to enjoy the present to the fullest because there’s no guarantee of tomorrow. As a marine who served in Afghanistan, he knows how precarious life can be, and he’s determined not to miss out on anything by worrying about the future or fretting about the past.

Imani and Zander are deeply attracted to one another from the moment they meet. However, they are complete opposites, and their philosophies about life conflict. Imani and Zander both have a long journey and fundamental changes they must make before they can be right for each other.

All Fired Up releases on May 17, 2022 and is available for preorder. This book can be read as a stand-alone or as the sequel to How Sweet It Is. Both are spectacular reads, and I can’t wait for the next book from Dylan Newton! I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Author Dylan Newton was born and raised in a small town where the library was her favorite hang-out. After over a decade working in corporate America, Dylan quit to pursue her passion: writing books. When she isn’t writing her next romantic comedy, Dylan is pursuing her own happily ever after with her high school sweetheart as they split time between Florida and Upstate New York with their two much cooler daughters and a tone-deaf cockatiel.

Visit Dylan at or on Facebook at

Maggie Mae Gallagher The Fixer Upper


I’m so excited to introduce everyone to a new release, The Fixer Upper, published Sept. 5, by Maggie Mae Gallagher, an author I recently discovered.

 Here’s the blurb:

 Abby Callier is more in love with Shakespearean heroes than any real man, and she’s beginning to wonder if there is life for her outside the pages of a book. It doesn’t help that her esteemed parents tend to view her as they would one of their science experiments gone wrong. On the eve of finishing her dissertation, she escapes her staid existence to live in the house she inherited from her Great Aunt Evie in the small town of Echo Springs, Colorado. Because, let’s face it, when a woman starts comparing her life to horror films, it might be time for a break.

Sheriff Nate Barnes believes in law and order and carefully building the life you want. In his spare time, he has been remodeling his house in the hope that one day it will be filled with the family he makes. But Nate doesn’t like drama or complications and tends to avoid them at all costs. And yet, when Miss Abigail Callier, his newest neighbor, beans him with a nine iron, he can’t help but wonder if she might just be the complication he’s been searching for all along. It doesn’t hurt that he’s discovered a journal hidden away by the previous tenant, and decides to use Old Man Turner’s advice to romance Abby into his life.

Abby never expected her next-door neighbor, the newly dubbed Sheriff Stud Muffin, to be just the distraction her world needed. The problem is she doesn’t know whether she should make Echo Springs her home, or if this town is just a stopover point in her life’s trajectory. And she doesn’t want to tell Nate that she might not be sticking around – even though she should, because it’s the right thing to do, the honest thing – because then all the scintillatingly hot kisses with the Sheriff will come to an abrupt halt. Did she mention that he’s a really great kisser?

I did a Q & A with Maggie for this post. 

Welcome Maggie Mae Gallagher to the Katherine Eddinger Smits blog. I recently purchased The Fixer Upper for my personal TBR list. Maggie, please tell readers a little about The Fixer Upper.

Thank you so much for having me! The Fixer Upper is the first book in my Echo Springs Series, where you will meet Abby. Now Abby just inherited her Great Aunt’s stately Victorian and she runs away from her life on the east coast, uncertain if the path she is on career wise is still what she wants. Her first night in her aunt’s house, she and Nate Barnes have a rather awkward first meeting where sparks fly.

Is this a real town, or did you create it for the story?

Yeah, before anyone goes searching for the town of Echo Springs, it is a fictional town. I did base it off a mish mash of different Colorado towns that I visited when I lived there. I liked creating the town from the ground up. It definitely gave me tons more freedom in designing Main Street and the businesses in town.

Have you written other books in this setting, or do you plan to write more in the future?

 There will be plenty more books in the Echo Springs Series. I do have a few more contemporary romance series planned after Echo Springs. But it will take a while to get there. I also write contemporary erotic romance under the name, Anya Summers, for those who like lots of spice with their romance.

Is this the start of a series or a standalone?

While The Fixer Upper is the first book in the series, each book in the series is absolutely a standalone. Readers can expect quite a bit more in Echo Springs. I’m putting the finishing touches on the next book in the series, Civil Disobedience, as we speak. Then we will have both Beauty Meets Her Beast and Mooning Over Her Muffins to follow. I don’t have the release dates for them yet, but I always announce release news on my newsletter first, and then it goes out onto social media.

Mooning Over Her Muffins—I love that title! That one will be fantastic, I’m sure.

The Fixer Upper is a contemporary romance, whereas the other books of yours I saw on Amazon are more in the paranormal/fantasy romance subgenre. What made you decide to write a contemporary?

I’ve had this series in my brain for a while now and it just came time that I needed to write it. I love the paranormal/fantasy genre, but this was a contemporary series I needed to do. I will likely do more in the paranormal genre at some point because I do love it.

Anything else you want readers to know about the book?

 Each book in the Echo Springs Series will be a complete standalone, although there is a connective thread: the heroes are all best friends. Nate and Miles grew up together in Echo Springs and went all the way through school together. They went on to college together. It was while they were in college that they met Jacob and Sam. They’re kind of like the Musketeers once D’Artagnan joined the group with an all for one and one for all comradery. I like the aspect of the male friendships and bonds, the willingness to have each other’s backs no matter what. And the town draws them all back together after they each had to go their separate ways.

Thanks so much for sharing about The Fixer Upper. I can’t wait to read it. Here’s an excerpt:

Excerpt from The Fixer Upper

Abby spent the next hour cleaning her new room as best she could for the night. She’d work on the full house and give it a proper cleaning come morning, but she’d spent the better part of the day in her Rover and could feel the onset of fatigue settling in her bones. There was a semimodern bathroom across the hall, with one of those claw-foot tubs she’d take advantage of when she wasn’t dragging her feet and ready to go horizontal for eight hours.

Settled in for the night, she made herself a small picnic of her wine and cheese offerings and added hitting up the local market for all the essentials to her to-do list for the morrow. Her parents would only shake their heads if they could see her in her thermal pajamas, drinking chardonnay directly from the bottle that hadn’t even sported a cork, but a lid that twisted off.

She was toasting her own brilliance when she heard the creak of the front door opening. Grabbing her trusty nine iron, a little gizmo she’d inherited from an ex-boyfriend some years back, Abby cursed at her phone’s low battery.

“Figures,” she muttered under her breath.

She left her room, tiptoeing down the stairs, her movements muffled by her thick socks. She rounded the corner, and a beam of light blinded her.

“Gah!” Screaming, she swung the iron, ready to take on her intruder. All the self-defense classes her parents had scoffed at hadn’t been for naught. Who knew that in a sleepy little mountain town, burglars and vagabonds were a problem? The golf club whizzed over the intruder’s head.

“What the?” a deep baritone barked.

She swung again, determined to fend off whoever the hell thought he could invade her aunt’s place with mischief on his mind. The shadowed outline of a large man loomed behind the beam of light. When he didn’t back off, only kept advancing, her internal panic button hit overdrive. The nine-iron connected with flesh with a thudded whack.

“Ow, fuck, cut it—”

“Get out or I’ll call the police!” she swore, her pulse hammering, her grip on the nine-iron so tight her hand was fusing into a claw formation. She reared back to strike again when his next words halted the forward progression of her swing.

“I am the police.”

She blanched, almost dropping her weapon, but then thought better of it. What if he’d lied to disarm her and then would attack?

Nice try, buddy. She wasn’t falling for it.

“Prove it.” She wasn’t the atypical heroine who idiotically descended into the darkened basement, despite the light mysteriously not working, to investigate the strange noise. She’d studied horror films and knew she was not the dumb bimbo, but the smart woman who survived. His indicating that he was the police was a sub-plot straight out of a B horror film and was precisely the type of thing the killer would say.

She raised the nine-iron into a defensive position as the man moved to her right, flipping on the overhead light while pulling a shiny silver badge from his belt. He held it toward her so that light reflected off the silver star. Blinking as her eyes adjusted, Abby wondered if she was dreaming. Cornflower-blue eyes studied her, dressed in her flannel pink pajama bottoms, tank top, and fluffy purple robe. He was larger than the darkness had suggested, probably a good six-three, and lean. His dark midnight hair fell in curly waves to his jawline, which was covered in dusky stubble. There was a ruggedness to him, indicating that somewhere in his make-up he preferred life outdoors, and it showed. He reminded her of the men gracing the covers of the romance novels she’d hidden from her parents growing up, and still hid from her colleagues.

She’d always had a bit of a thing for men in uniform, but the only defining mark that even suggested he was an officer was his black jacket with an emblem embroidered into the right shoulder. Otherwise, he looked like a mountain man, in a button-up emerald flannel shirt and blue jeans that rode low over his muscular hips.

Then she focused on the badge. Oh, sweet heavens! The badge read: Sheriff, City of Echo Springs. Why did this have all the beginnings of a campy horror flick? Woman goes to the wilderness to find herself, makes acquaintance with the local law enforcement, and then the army of dolls stuffed inside the home come to life, possessed by a demon spawn from hell, to try to kill the heroine.


About Maggie:

Maggie Mae Gallagher

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Maggie grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Maggie never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.

Maggie is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes erotic romance under the name Anya Summers. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.

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Buy The Fixer Upper here:

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