Today I am so pleased to welcome J.E. Birk to Joyfully Jay. J.E. has come to talk to us about her latest release, Forbidden in the Falls. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

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Exclusive Excerpt

The strangest thing about panic attacks, I’ve always thought, is how quickly they appear and disappear. One moment I’m absolutely convinced I’m going to die, and the next minute it’s as though nothing ever happened. As though the world was just set back upright on its axis again and everyone’s just going about their business.

I glance up at Dr. Evers as I take in exactly how closely we’re sitting together. Holy fuck. Just yesterday he was telling me that we need to hold to stricter boundaries when we’re together, and now I’m basically sitting in his lap. I scramble to stand.

“Hey there, calm down.” He moves slightly to the side of me so that his arm is still around me but we’re not quite so physically connected. “How are you feeling? Do you often have panic attacks?”

Breathe in and count, hold and count, let it out and count. I follow the sequence my old high school counselor taught me twice before I know I’m ready to answer him. “I used to. But it’s been a few months now. I thought maybe they were gone.”

“Any idea what brought this one on?” His tone is so mild, gentle, and that tone makes it much easier to tell the truth.

“I have to stand on that stage and thank the winery for supporting the festival. I’m not exactly the best at public speaking.”

“Ah, I see.” Dr. Evers nods. I notice he’s picked up a piece of grass and is chewing it thoughtfully now, holding it in between his teeth as he looks off over the rolling hills in front of us, the green grassy lanes there intermixed with fallen yellows and reds and oranges. Every newly fallen leaf brings us closer to the festival. “That makes sense.”

I snort. “Yeah, sure. Because everyone has a panic attack right before they have to talk to people.”

He shrugs. “Many people do,” he says softly. “You won’t be the first or the last.”

We sit in silence for a moment. He chews his grass, and I breathe.

“I admire so many things about you,” he finally says.

I jerk my head up so fast my neck hurts. “What would you ever admire about me?” I ask incredulously.

“As I said, many things. Your kindness. Your desire to be good at everything you do. Your fortitude.” He glances behind the barn, toward the stage that’s so quickly become my nemesis today. “You never give up, Malachai,” he murmurs. “Some of us, we give up on things so quickly. We settle. I can never imagine you settling for anything less than what you deserve.”

I gulp back the shock that quickly courses through my system; I doubt anyone else in the world sees me that way. I certainly don’t.

Dr. Evers stands and holds out his hand to pull me up. I take it without thinking.

“If you don’t want to speak, I imagine you don’t have to,” he says. “But know that I have every faith you can do it. I have every faith you can do anything you set your mind to, Malachai.”

It takes a few more minutes of counting my breaths before I’m ready. But then I nod, turn, and start walking toward the stage.

I let the memories of everything he’s just said to me carry me through each step I take to the stagefront, through my short remarks thanking the winery for their support, through the applause and cheering of the crowd as I step back down the steps and away from the stage. My sneakers touch the grass with a thump as I glance around me and find Dr. Evers standing next to the barn, still chewing on a blade of grass while he sends me a thumbs up.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Don’t think about him leaving Vermont without you.

Don’t think about you leaving Vermont without him.

Just. Breathe. 


forbidden in the falls coverDevon Falls Series, Book 2

He’s my boss. He never smiles. I have a totally off-limits crush on him. Oh, and I just moved into his house.

All I’ve ever wanted is to escape the tiny town and trailer park that never accepted me. I came to Devon Falls to start over, and things here were starting to look up—until I accidentally ended up living in a drug dealer’s barn and became a town pariah all over again. And on top of all that, I’m now homeless for a second time. Is there a hotter mess than me on the planet?

Things get really wonky when my boss rescues me from my car and takes me home with him. I’ve been crushing hard on Dr. Sam Evers since the day we met, and moving in with him isn’t making that crush go away. He may be one of the growliest people in town, but Dr. Evers takes care of me and protects me in a way no one ever has. Still, I know better than to think that will last once he realizes what a disaster I am. Plus, Dr. Evers swore off all relationships after he lost his husband. And then there’s the fact that he’s my boss…

But when I end up managing the Devon Falls Leaf Festival and quickly discover I can’t do it all on my own, Dr. Evers steps in to save me yet again. Now I can’t decide what’s harder: earning the acceptance of an entire town, or trying not to fall for a doctor I can never have.

Forbidden in the Falls is a forbidden boss-employee romance. It comes with a grouchy doctor, his hapless young office manager, leaf festival shenanigans, and all the small-town quirk you’d expect from a Devon Falls book. This is the second book in the Devon Falls series, but it can be read as a standalone.


JE Birk bio photoJ.E. Birk was raised in Vermont and is now adulting in Colorado with intermittent success. She is a long-time lover of stories, and she writes and reads in worlds where imperfect characters find their happily ever after. Snag free bonus content and stay up-to-date on J.E. Birk’s news and releases by signing up for her newsletter at



Connect with J.E.:
Instagram: @jebirkwrites
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Facebook: J.E. Birk


To celebrate the release of Forbidden in the Falls, J.E. Birk is giving away a $20 Amazon Voucher! Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win!

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