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Oil Barrons Series (Paperback)

Oil Barrons Series (Paperback)

Spicy Small Town Romance

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1800+ 5-star reviews for the series

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Make Me Whole (Book 1)

Liam’s a single dad of twins and my best friend, so sleeping with him probably wasn’t a good idea.

After my husband’s funeral, I had a breakdown that lasted for a month…or twelve. But now I’m reemerging, healing, and finding my way. It’s time to learn who I am, and whether or not I can fix a leaky sink.

By my side the entire time is my husband’s best friend. Liam Barron. The single dad knows a thing or two about personal struggles—and how to replace faucets.

We were close before, but Liam’s become my best friend. With him, I feel alive again. Confident. And unexpectedly—sexy. Except if my parents, my in-laws, and the rest of the town had any say, I’d stay the needy, young widow who can barely get out of bed.

Little do they know, when I think about lingering between the sheets, Liam’s also on my mind.

How do I tell them what’s so hard to admit to myself? That like it or not, I’m ready to move on and I want to do it with Liam. But how can I risk my friendship with the most important person in my life just to feel whole again?

Make Me Shiver (Book 2)

I haven’t seen my husband for a year and a half before he shows up on my family’s ranch asking for an annulment.

Archer’s a corporate guy with the condo in the city, the expensive car, and the snooty friends I was never good enough for. And I’m not the girl he thought I was—polished, refined, and classy. I’ve got dirt on my boots—and in my hair, dusting my face, and covering my old truck. Our marriage was never going to work. I should just sign the papers.

But I don’t. I ignore him like he’s done to me for the last 18 months.

Then one day, he rescues a calf from the mud, claims he’s a simple country boy at heart, and he wants to work things out. But it’s really hard to concentrate on what he’s saying when he’s undressed on my porch to keep from getting the house dirty.

True to his word, he doesn’t give up. Next thing I know, he’s cutting hay, getting to know his long lost relatives—the ones who are really surprised to find out I’m married and to a Barron. Did I mention I didn’t tell anyone I’d gotten married?

Well, the secret’s out, and my husband isn’t hiding. But in the end, the job he’s so proud of is across the country and I can’t leave my parents with a failing ranch and no help. I won’t trade my identity like I did last time, but the husband I’m finally getting to know might decide he’s a city guy after all.

Make Me Blush (Book 3)

Not everyone flees a steamy back seat session without an explanation but that’s how my new single mom life starts out.

I don’t expect to see that guy again. All he knows of me is that I’m new in town and freshly divorced, not that I have four kids and have zero interest in dating.

Yet who do I find coaching my son’s third grade football team? My random hookup, Holden Barron, looking even better in broad daylight.

I assume a guy like him will stay far away now that he’s seen the hot mess of my life, but he won’t quit finding reasons to hang out with me. Like helping with my kids at the clinic after my son takes a hard sack. Horse riding lessons for my oldest daughter. A movie night.

And the first weekend my kids are with their dad… Well, no back seat required.

But I’ve trusted the wrong man before, and Holden’s history with women doesn’t scream commitment. My heart can’t take getting shattered again, especially not by the man who’s helping me piece it back together.

Make Me Dream (Book 4)

Being ghosted by my best friend's brother was easier to get over than the pink positive sign I got six weeks later.

With our ten-year age difference, I didn’t think I was more to Stetson Barron than his little sister’s quirky best friend. Until one hot summer night at his cousin’s wedding when I climbed him like a water tower.

And then we pretended nothing happened.

A pink plus sign and a panic attack later, the trailer house I share with my mom burns down. Stetson shows up at the ER like a country knight on a diesel-powered steed, arranges a place for my mom to stay, and takes me home with him.

Being with Stetson should be a fantasy come to life, but I’m waiting for my prince to ride away. I’m the pauper in our little story, and his family will make sure he knows it.

My mom was in the same situation once, and I’ve learned her lesson—alone is better than abandoned. I want to be with the man of my dreams, but Stetson has to prove he’s dedicated or I’ll take my broken heart and go.

Make Me Exhale (Book 5)

I’ve got my trust fund and my plans to restore an old train foundry into a brewery. What do I do with the grumpy project manager?

I’m told my project manager is the best. He’s experienced in both sides of the business—the restoration and the brewing. But all I’ve gotten from him are scowls and dismissive grunts.

McCoy might think he’s the expert, he might look at me like I should be in diapers with pigtails, but he’s wrong if he thinks he can bulldoze me.

All it takes is one look. One time I catch him eyeing me with something other than disdain. One conversation where we geek out over yeast strains and hops. One kiss that leads to more.

I promised myself I’d never settle for a guarded man who thinks he knows everything, especially one who won’t put me before business. And after what McCoy's been through, he’s all about work. No personal entanglements.

I refuse to fall for his brooding expression and wide shoulders and considerate gestures. The last thing I need during this renovation is to be left with flat beer and a broken heart.


Dive into FIVE small town romances and capture these gorgeous special edition covers!

What you'll find in this series:

  • Best friend's brother
  • Second chance romance
  • Workplace romance
  • Small town romance
  • Friends to lovers romance

Books in this bundle:

✔️ Make Me Whole

✔️ Make Me Shiver

✔️ Make Me Blush

✔️ Make Me Dream

✔️ Make Me Exhale

What readers are saying: 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "Sweet, swoony, & spicy!"--Reader Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "Love it. Every minute of this book had me falling in love and devouring it. Wishing that it didn't had to end. The story was amazingly written and you will love every swooning moment and how everything is portrayed. Definitely a must."--Reader Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "Marie Johnston has magic powers. The emotions she made me feel- at the same time mind you- is ridiculous! Making me cry sad tears, while being happy, during a spicy scene?! I didn't even know that combination was possible, but I loved it!"--Reader Review


Chapter One Look Inside

Make Me Whole Chapter 1, Sneak Peek

“Did you shower today?”

I scrunched the phone between my shoulder and my ear as warmth spread through me. As long as Liam Barron kept asking me that question, I knew someone cared about me.

A lot of people cared, but it was the mischievous way he asked that meant he not only cared, he was comfortable enough with me to joke about it. “Yes, Liam. I showered. You don’t have to ask me that anymore.”

“Mmm.” His dubious low rumble went right through the phone into my ear. I suppressed a shiver. Liam had a nice voice. I’d always known it. It was just more noticeable today because I had the phone squished against my ear, so his voice was like an injection to the brain. I’d set it down, but then he’d know I was up to something.

I pulled another flannel shirt off a hanger. Hints of cedar and the fabric softener I used surrounded me. My eyelids drifted shut and I inhaled. Longing tugged at my heart, but the feeling didn’t topple me over like it used to. Didn’t mean today was easy, just that I could keep moving forward without succumbing to grief.

“Kenny.” Liam was the only one who got away with calling me Kenny instead of Kennedy. Not even my husband had given me a nickname, but as Derek’s cousin and best friend, Liam felt the need to set himself apart from everyone else in my life. As if he had to work hard to do that.

“I’m fine.” I’d been saying that to keep my mother and my in-laws from worrying for the last few months, but this time I meant it. Today was hard, but it was something I had to do. It was something I couldn’t mess up. “I really am.”

“You slept okay?”

“You don’t have to do this anymore.” I hated that he was compelled to check on me in the first place, yet I was terrified that he’d quit. And I wouldn’t tell him that he’d called at the perfect time. Liam knew how to not only stick with me in a dark place but to also see me through to the other side.

“How’s work?” he asked, undaunted.

I slipped another navy-blue polo shirt off a hanger. I discreetly sniffed the shirt. Funny how smells could unbury memories faster than a blink. I could almost feel Derek’s body heat when he’d hug me tight after he got home from work. I missed it. So damn much. Tears seared the backs of my eyes, but I blinked them away. Carefully, I set the hanger down.

If Liam had one inkling of what I was doing, he’d rush over. If anyone else knew what I was doing, they’d try to talk me out of it. My mom would fret and think I was overtaxing myself. My in-laws would tell me it was fine to keep the house the way it was for eternity.

Maybe it was, but I needed to do something different with this place. I needed to feel like it was mine and not a monument to what once was and would never be again. And I needed to do it now. Emptying my husband’s side of the closet a year and a half after I watched his casket be lowered into the ground was something I had to do when I was motivated. I couldn’t wait. I couldn’t let the dread build.

“Work is fine.”

“Mmm.” That rumble.

I slowly folded the polo and put it on the giveaway pile. I’d save whatever I wanted to save. When I’d first started this, I thought I’d pack Derek’s side of the closet and end up unpacking everything right back onto hangers.
Maybe I still would. “What? It’s fine.”

“Kenny, it was Derek that told me that when a woman says fine, I’d better turn into a private investigator and find out what I’d done wrong.”

My lips quirked. Liam didn’t listen to anyone. Derek had been different. Liam’s grandma, Gin, was the only other exception. The town held Liam’s attitude against him, but I understood. As the illegitimate son of one of Coal Haven’s most affluent and powerful men, Liam had had a rough start. He’d tragically lost his mother when he was a baby and was raised by her parents while the rest of his family resented his presence in the world. Everyone but Derek. “Work is good. Really. I vibe really well with Marion, and she respects my experience.” Most of the time.

“But you’re still just helping the teacher and not the teacher.”

I sighed. For striking out so bad when it came to women, Liam was an incredibly perceptive friend. Just after Christmas break was over, I’d gotten a job as a paraprofessional at the school where I used to teach. Being an aide for the third-grade teacher for the last three months had been nice. She was a good teacher—proficient and competent. But helping wasn’t what I’d done before. I’d been the teacher, not the aide.

“I messed up. I have to do my time and climb back up the ladder. Wait for an opening and hope my withdrawal from life for over a year won’t be held against me.”

“You didn’t mess up; you’re too good for that. You were in mourning, and they’ll understand.”

Only time would tell how understanding my boss would be. He’d been the one who’d had to figure out what to do with an entire classroom of kids when I couldn’t stop sobbing in the bathroom and then had just walked out.
Would I land a full-time teaching gig before my bills said time to move? I didn’t want to think about it today. “How are the boys?”

“I’m not home yet, but Grandma Gin said they’ve been pure hell.”

My laughter made the task of slipping another shirt off a hanger a little less painful. Two five-year-old kids against an ornery grandma? “I feel like they’d be more likely to say Grandma Gin has been pure hell.”

He laughed, then his tone turned serious. “She wants to put the place up for sale soon. Like in the next couple of months.”

Liam’s grandpa had died a few years ago, and Grandma Gin had floundered. Liam had helped her liquidate the cattle to pay off lingering debts. Then, he’d moved home to Coal Haven but commuted to his job on an oil field outside of Williston almost three hours away.

Each month, Liam worked a twenty-day stretch, followed by ten days off. During those ten-day periods, he’d helped Grandma Gin move to a senior living apartment and made improvements to her house. Selling it at top dollar would help keep a roof over Grandma Gin’s head. In return, she’d insisted on staying with the boys at the house while Liam worked.

“So soon?” A spark of panic flared in my chest. Those ten days Liam was home, I had a friend around. He not only called, but he stopped in. I sucked in a calming breath. I’d always have Liam and the boys, no matter where he lived.

I’d miss his regular visits though.

His deep chuckle wound through the phone and eased my anxiety. “It’s been over three years since I moved back, Kenny.”

“I know, it’s just… It’s been nice having you around.” If for only ten days at a time. “Look at what you’ve done with the place.” The old ranch house on his grandparents’ land hadn’t been maintained as well as it could’ve been, as Liam’s grandparents had worked to raise him and run a ranch in their golden years. Then Grandpa Bob had gotten sick and things had fallen apart. “It will be so nice when you can be with Eli and Owen more, though.”

“I know. I haven’t even touched the whole before- and after-school issue yet. It was hard enough to find day care after I won full custody from Payton. That’s why moving home worked so well. Grandma Gin saved me as much as I helped her. But I don’t want them to start kindergarten in Coal Haven. They don’t need to deal with the bullshit I did.”

The bullshit had stemmed from one man. Cameron Barron liked flexing his power and showing his illegitimate son how he wished Liam hadn’t been born—never mind that Cameron had been the one to have the affair that resulted in Liam’s birth.

Cameron wanted nothing to do with him, and he expected everyone in his circle of friends, family, and acquaintances to behave the same. Derek was the only one who’d defied Cameron.

“Well, I’ll miss all of you.” I loved being with him and the boys. To them, I wasn’t Kennedy the Widow. I was Kenny, their dad’s friend, who coerced them to eat green beans once in a while but also let them destroy the bathroom during bath time.

Liam had shamelessly used them to help bring me back into the land of People Who Got Off the Couch and Showered.

“What are you up to today?” He asked the same question every weekend he was home. Today was Saturday, and since he worried when I didn’t have my Monday-through-Friday job to motivate me, he wouldn’t be satisfied until he knew I was doing okay.

I hadn’t showered yet, but only because I planned to work around the house all day.

And maybe because I was packing up Derek’s clothing.

“I have some cleaning to catch up on. You raked for me last fall, but I was going to see if the lawn needed some attention before Bruce came over and did it.” I’d told Derek’s dad, Bruce, that I could take over lawn care now that all the snow had melted, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I got home from work one day to find my lawn had been neatly tended to.

Bruce Barron had been second to Liam in taking care of me. Derek’s mom, Willow, and Bruce checked on me each week and took care of any repairs, like a clogged garbage disposal. They did what needed to be done.
Especially when my neglect of myself and my house had gotten too bad.

After being sick through so many of my high school years, I had thought I’d gotten stronger. Until I had found myself alone and unable to keep a one-person household going. Those days were done. They had to be. That was what this closet cleaning was about. No one was going to do it for me, so I hadn’t told anyone my plans.

“What else are you doing?” Liam asked.

I scowled. When did Liam’s bullshit meter get so sensitive? “I’m…sweeping.”

There was a knock at the door. I jumped, dropping the maroon polo I was in the middle of folding. It wouldn’t bother me to give that one away. Derek had complained the tag itched but he’d refused to cut it off, and, in turn, had never worn it.

“Can I call you back?” I didn’t want to get off the phone with Liam. I wanted him to talk to me through this whole closet-cleaning process. “Someone’s here.”

“I’ll wait.”

“Liam. I’m fine.” I scrambled off the floor, holding the phone with one hand and tugging my shirt down with the other. It used to be roomy, but my venture back into the workplace had come with an increased appetite. I’d gone from unintentional calorie restriction to tasty overload thanks to the teachers’ lounge and its constant parade of goodies.

I didn’t bother to check who was at the door. It was Coal Haven, North Dakota, population 2200. There weren’t any surprises when it came to who might be at the door. Could be the mail. Another delivery from Mom, who thought I was still too withdrawn to go to the grocery store. For the last year, I’d received deliveries of dried goods. I had more rice than I could eat in a lifetime. But it was probably Bruce. He hadn’t stopped by for the weekend yet.

I whipped the door open, my mind whirling about what to tell Bruce. I didn’t know how he’d handle it if he knew I was packing Derek’s things. He never called first, and maybe I should’ve thought of that when I’d started. Or maybe I hoped that Bruce would notice how much better I was and he’d start calling or messaging before he popped in.

The man on my doorstep was not Bruce.
Where Bruce was six feet tall, this man was a couple of inches taller, with wider shoulders and a chest hard enough to bounce a quarter off. His unrepentant grin was all Liam.

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