Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Legend of Crying Girl Creek



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Fantasy, Romantic Fantasy
Release Date: February 13, 2019
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

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Adventurous American nurse Samantha Winters is on a study abroad program in Australia. But after one perfect night with a handsome stranger, she finds herself with child. Intrigued with an elderly patient's tales of a local creek where pregnant women drown themselves, Sam agrees to help end the curse.

Historian James Campbell keeps a vigilant watch on his family's haunted land, hoping to prevent more deaths. A loner in his personal life, he's stunned to discover his grandmother's nurse is the one woman he can't forget.

Sam is a believer. James is a skeptic. With the legend's anniversary looming closer, the two work together to solve the mystery of Crying Girl Creek. Amid the tangles of secrets and lies Sam has a secret of her own: James is the father of her baby. And he doesn't want children..


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Excerpt

James Campbell knew what to expect. A breeze whipped up against the cloudless blue sky, and soon turned into a wild wind that tore through the canyon carved into the Broken Back Range. It chilled him to the bone, even though the noonday sun beat upon his shoulders.

“Steady.” He held tight to the reins with one hand and stroked the horse’s neck. “Good boy, Blaze.”

The skin on the back of his neck prickled, and the hair on his arms stood like a tangle of spider legs. The wind abated as swiftly as it had started. He stared toward the canyon. New South Wales had suffered an extreme drought, hell, for that matter so had most of Australia.

His dog whimpered.

“Ruby, come on, girl.” He patted his thigh to encourage the pup. She was barely a year old. An Australian kelpie, chocolate brown with a hint of red, and while she enjoyed being out here at the creek instead of the apartment, he understood there were many new things that created some nervousness. Hell, even he had to shake off a chill. He ran a hand inside his shirt. Sweat clung to chest hair. The sweat of fear? Nah, the legend was based on rumor, and the bloody thing kept alive by the curious.

Ruby slunk through the tall, dry grass.

“That’s good. There’s nothing to fear.”

With binoculars raised, he scanned the banks of the creek. The normally still water rippled like someone had skipped a rock into its midst. The sounds—moans that whispered through the grass and rustled the fronds of the willow trees—had been soft today, like a mother crooning to a baby.

Stuff it. Those sounds were purely scientific. They happened when the coastal breezes met the heat of the valley and channeled through the narrow gully. He turned the chestnut gelding, pushed back the brim of the Akubra, and wiped his brow. Binoculars dangled from their strap and bounced against his chest as he headed for the stables. He took off Blaze’s saddle and tossed it over the stall door, rubbed him down, then released him to the lower paddock.

Whatever the hell is going on here, it will be okay. It has to be.

He ambled across the dry land toward the old house, kicking at the red dirt with the tips of his boots. Inside, he pulled a bottle of water from the ancient refrigerator and strode to the front verandah. He loved Crying Girl Creek, but there had been difficult days. So much loss over the years, and that weakened a man. He sat in Grandma’s old rocker. Memories he needed to dig into, things that might help him heal, flooded his senses. After the anniversary of the legend, then he’d give them some thought.


About the Author

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Robena Grant is Australian by birth but resides in Southern California. She has two adult children, enjoys reading, swimming, friends, simple dinners, a glass of wine, a board game, and heaven forbid…karaoke! Travel has always been her greatest love. France, Australia, Italy, England, and Scotland have featured in her stories. She often chooses a setting that has captured her senses through travel.



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Friday, February 15, 2019

For a Song



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The Gentle Surf Series, Book 3
Contemporary Romance
Date Published:  February 13, 2019
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

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“For a Song” is set on the southern tip of the California coastline, on the island of Coronado. Here, on the wide, golden beach fronting the historic Hotel Del Coronado, watching the fishermen at sea, you can see the purple hue of the mountains of Mexico on the horizon.  Assumptions plague our characters in this book.

Our hero, Trip Vincent is on trial for killing his business partner—the lead singer in their band. Of course, he is found not guilty since he wasn’t even driving the car. However, in this digital age of social justice warriors rampant on the internet, he’s been found guilty by the public at large and his fan base. The shame and remorse of not doing more to save his best friend, lead Trip down the same path his grandfather, Reginald once took—the bottle. Trip seems likes he on the road to ruin until he meets Aya, a mysterious, pixie-like woman who happens to “appear” in his life when he needs her the most.

But Aya didn’t just happen to appear. She’s a drifter who’s been trying to shake the bonds of her weed-like roots for years. From the moment the band purchased one of Aya’s song and sang it to gold on the charts, she has been closely monitoring Trip’s career. What started fascination over his family’s musical roots and their tie to the Island of Coronado turned in beguilement of the man himself as he stoically persevered during his trial. Throughout his court case, Aya knew there was more to the story and made it her business to uncover the truth and see it was placed in the right hands, so he could get back to the business of music.

When he doesn’t get back to singing, her need to meet him in person steps over the line. Her line. His line.

Now Aya must ask herself is she a stalker who fell in love because Aya isn’t who she appears. Evasively eluding government officials has been a number one priority for years. As the grand-daughter of the most notorious presidential assassin, she and her family have always been presumed “guilty” by mere association. Of course, it doesn’t help that both her grandmother and mother profited from this association focusing more on their bank accounts and then the destruction of the act.

How could she possibly make Trip understand and try to build a life with him. Just when he makes her believe her “happily ever after” could happen, she must leave.

“For a Song” is set in modern America, where misinformation and disinformation has become the status quo. But does it have to be? Can these characters look beyond hype and see the truth of their relationship and the potential for more?

Like the other books in this series, “For a Song” is fraught with the high drama of social and family expectation, as well as assumptions and miscommunications. For each of our lead characters, our hero and heroine must learn their lessons and decide how to move forward—alone or together. And, as always, this is a romantic novel first and there is the “happy ever after”.

“For a Song” is a fast-paced story that offers both adventure and humour, while never forgetting about the passion and attraction. The immediate sexual tension compels to climax. These characters thrive on gratification. The reader won’t be disappointed.



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Other Books in The Gentle Surf Series


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Sea Breeze
The Gentle Surf Series, Book 1
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press,
Published: March 2017


Brought up under the strict regime of business first and personal relationships a waste of time and effort, Reginald followed in his father’s footsteps—until now. Like a bee to honey, he is drawn to a mysterious lounge singer. Her poise and elegance lift her above the crowd. Despite his looming engagement to further the family empire, he can’t stay away.

After the death of her mother and falling out with her father, Elleah flees to escape the shackles of matrimony as a business deal. In 1950 post-war America, she will not settle. She can’t deny the attraction to Reginald, but he is everything she has sworn off—a drinker, hardcore businessman—the embodiment of New York society, never mind being as close to engage as a person can be without the ring.

Only with each other do their masks come down. Can Reginald step out from the shadow of his family and become the man he was meant to be? Will Elleah see through her misconceptions to give him a chance?






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From the Front Desk
The Gentle Surf Series, Book 2
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press,
Published: December 2017

Toby MacPherson is guilty…and innocent, and Wendee Miller is on the run.

Both streetwise and life-weary, neither are looking for any complications. Yet, life does seem to happen when you least expect it and when these two meet the attraction is palpable. Both employed by the Hotel Del Coronado, their meeting time and again seems unavoidable. Where Toby is drawn to her vivacious personality, Wendee can’t help but be intrigued by the shy giant.

But what will happen when each discovers the other’s secret? Will their newfound love be enough to bridge the shock and many hurdles to come? Or will they learn there is strength in trusting another?





About the Author

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Let's face it...Lori likes tea. Most often found in the kitchen sharing stories, or a coffee shop, mug in hand, she can visit for hours.

That's inspiration: people, places, adventure. Every day is made up of the moments to create the tapestry of life.

Without sharing; how would you ever know that Gord from a small farming community in Northern Alberta found himself in Australia on a tour and passed his childhood friend Joe hitch-hiking. They pulled over, unbelieving that this could really be Joe and sure enough; Joe on the side of the road, on the other side of the world, decades after they had last met. Great stories!

To be able to put thoughts on paper and have other people appreciate the stories; laugh, cry, feel the passion, is a dream come true for Lori Power.

Lori’s body of work is as varied as the adventures of daily life and includes children's stories, a Gluten-Free cookbook, romance, suspense, and thrillers and soon to be Young Adult fiction..

Her first ''official'  novel, “Storms of Passion” published by Wild Rose Press under their Champagne line, was released n 2014.

Book One in the "Under Suspicion" series, beginning with "Hit 'n Run", followed by "The Tables Have Turned" is available now, from Limitless Publishing. Book Three "Secrets Revealed" is presently in process and will be concluded with Book Four "Finding Home"..

"The Gentle Surf" series is available from Wild Ross Press. This includes "Sea Breeze" inspired by the Hotel Del Coronado on the Southern tip of the California coast. and "From the Front Desk", The third installment in this series, "For a Song" is in process of being released.

Collaboration is important to improving one’s craft and as such, Lori is an active member of the TransCanada Romance Writers, Romance Writers of America, The Calgary chapter of the Romance Writers, The Alberta Romance Writers Association and belongs to both a Critiquing group and a Beta Reading weekly group.

In all things, remember...life is a journey, thanks for being part of the adventure!


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Valentine Countdown Blitz - Day 10




Ren Garcia is a Science Fiction/Fantasy author and Texas native who grew up in western Ohio. He has been writing since before he could write, often scribbling alien lingo on any available wall or floor with assorted crayons. He attended The Ohio State University and majored in English Literature. 

Ren has been an avid lover of anything surreal since childhood. He also has a passion for caving, urban archeology, taking pictures of clouds, and architecture. He currently lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife, and their four dogs.




~ Website ~


Raised in the dark under the lash of the Black Hat Sisterhood, when the woman who would become known as Kat, is sent on a suicide mission into the heart of the League, she was not expected to survive. Her mission: discover the identity of the fabled Shadow tech Goddess, a being who does not exist. All other considerations, including her possible death, are secondary.


But, Kat is guided by higher powers, by merciful hands that feed her, clothe her and whisper in her ear. As she watches the sun rise for the first time, she recalls their words: “Be strong,” they said. “You have much to live for.








Top Ten List:

10 Fun facts about the Author:

--I was once engaged to a woman 20 years my senior.
--I once looked down the barrel of an FBI Agent’s drawn pistol.
--I once took a home IQ test from a book and scored a 58.
--Similar to the Bird Box challenge that’s all the craze these days, I once nearly plunged to my death by walking into the deep end of a drained swimming pool in a pitch black abandoned YMCA.
--I was once royally chewed out by Maria Shriver.
--A childhood rite of passage, my bout with the Chicken Pox nearly killed me as a boy.
--My entire family has brown eyes, yet I have blue eyes. After 3rd grade biology class, I announced to my mother that I couldn’t possibly be her son.
--I once received a check for $150 dollars after a treasure chest full of stolen Mexican booty was discovered on a relative’s property. The $150 was my share of the divided spoils.
--For a 2nd grade essay in 1975 that was to be placed in a Time Capsule under the school, I predicted the coming of GPS.

--As the infamous White Hurricane of 1978 dumped 10 feet of snow on the ground and gave us -61 wind chills, I STILL had to go to school in a treaded armored personnel carrier donated by the National Guard.




To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page Part 1 
and Official Event page Part 2 




Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine Countdown Blitz - Day 9





Debbie currently lives on the west coast with her husband and two dachshund rescues, Dash and Briar. She loves to hike, work in the garden, and on most sunny days you can find her enjoying her backyard with a glass of wine.


She’s an avid supporter of animal rescue, and as a pledge to all animals seeking their forever home, she happily donates a percentage of all book sales to local and national rescue organizations. When you purchase any of her books, you’re also helping animals.


~ Facebook ~ Website ~
Twitter Pinterest ~
Bookbub ~



Breanna Murphy has been planning her wedding for years so when her fiancé runs off with a hula dancer, she is forced to realize her destination wedding is nothing more than an exotic vacation for one.
Trying to escape the embarrassment and disappointment of being jilted at the altar, Breanna answers an ad for a job clear across the country. When the voice on the other end offers her the job, she’s excited about what awaits her in California.
Builder Calvin Comstock must make right on his daughter’s mistake regarding the nationwide advertisement and hiring of Breanna. He doesn’t know what to expect, but when Breanna walks into his office with her infectious smile, peaches and cream complexion not to mention her sexy southern drawl, Calvin is happy for his daughter’s error.
Breanna is drawn to Calvin’s mature movie star good looks, charming personality, soft voice, and strong hands. She’s trying to stay focused on the job and not the overwhelming lure she feels pulling her in to test the waters. But when the two realize the attraction is mutual they throw caution to the wind and give in to the undeniable desire to be together.
Can an ex-wife and a teenage daughter spoil their happiness or will it make them stronger than ever?


Top Ten List:

TEN FUN THINGS ABOUT ME YOU MAY OR MAY NOT KNOW!

1.        I donate a percentage of book sales to animal rescue.
2.        I have two rescue dogs, Dash and Briar.
3.        I retired after thirty years of federal service and now write full-time.
4.        I have three grandchildren and a fourth that will be born by the time you read this!
5.        I lived in Seoul, Korea for two years where I taught English to Koreans.
6.        I lived in Germany for three years, participated in many volksmarches, and learned to like wine!
7.        I lived in Panama for three years, saw iguanas and ate monkey meat!
8.        I rode in a helicopter inside the Grand Canyon! It was scary!!
9.        I got stuck inside an elevator once in Germany. To this day I don’t like elevators.

10.      My dream vacation is to visit Italy, Scotland, and Ireland, not necessarily in that order.




To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page Part 1 
and Official Event page Part 2 




Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Going Home



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Chandler Hill Inn Series, Book 1
Women's Fiction
Date Published:February 13, 2019
Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing

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In 1970, Violet Hawkins’ only wish at eighteen is to escape her life in the Dayton, Ohio, foster-care system and make her way to the west coast to enjoy a mellow life and find the love she’s been missing all her life. She makes it to San Francisco, but soon learns she needs a job if she’s to live properly. A kind, young man named Kenton Chandler offers her a sandwich and a job at his father’s inn and vineyards. With nothing to lose, Lettie takes him up on his offer and begins a whole new life in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. She immediately falls in love with the land and is fascinated with the idea of growing grapes in order to make wines. She, Kenton, and Rafe Lopez become friends as she learns about running the small inn on the property.

At the same time she marries Kenton, a stroke kills his father. And then before she can tell Kenton she’s pregnant, he dies in an automobile accident. Heartbroken and burdened with the gift of the Chandler Hill Inn and Winery, she’s left with the task of making them a success. Struggling to raise a child alone while working to grow the business, Lettie makes a shocking discovery that changes everything.


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Excerpt


CHAPTER ONE



Some people’s lives unfold in the most unusual ways.

In 1970, the only things Violet Hawkins wanted for her eighteenth birthday were to escape the Dayton, Ohio, foster-care system in which she’d been raised and to make her way to San Francisco. There, she hoped to enjoy a mellow lifestyle and find the love that had always been absent in her life.

                Though she made it to San Francisco easily enough, she soon discovered she couldn’t afford a clean, safe place in which to settle down. At first, it hadn’t seemed to matter. Caught up in the excitement and freedom of living in a large city where free love and openness to so many things reigned, she almost forgot about eating and sleeping. One couch, one futon was as good as any other as long as grass or other drugs were available, and others didn’t mind giving her a place to sleep. But after spending four months there, the dollars she’d carefully saved, which had seemed so many in Dayton, were nothing but a mere pittance in a city where decent living was too expensive for her. She took to wandering the streets with her backpack until she came upon a friendly group willing to give her a sleeping space inside or a bite to eat.

                One June day, feeling discouraged, she’d just sunk down onto the steps outside a row house when a young man emerged.  

                He smiled down at her. “Tired?”

                She was more than tired. She was exhausted and hungry. “Looking for work. I need to eat.”

                He gave her a long, steady, blue-eyed look. “What’s your name?”

                “Violet Hawkins. But call me Lettie.”

                His eyebrows shot up. “With all that red hair, no flowery name for you?”

                She shook her head. She’d always hated both her hair and her name. The red in her hair was a faded color, almost pink, and the name Violet indicated a delicate flower. She’d never had the luxury of being the least bit frail. 

                He sat down beside her and studied her. “You don’t look like the hippie type. What are you doing in a place like this?”

                “On my eighteenth birthday, I left Dayton, Ohio, to come here. It sounded like a great plan—all this freedom.”

                “How long have you been here?”

                “Four months. I thought it would be different. I don’t know … easier, maybe.”

                He got to his feet. “How about I fix you a sandwich, and then I’ll tell you about a job, if you want it. It’s at a vineyard in Oregon. I’m heading there later today.”         

                Her glance slid over his well-built body, rugged facial features, and clean, shoulder-length, light-brown hair. He didn’t fit into the usual crowd she’d been with, which made her cautious. “Who are you? And why would you do this for me?”

                “Kenton Chandler.” His lips curved into the same warm smile he’d given her earlier. “I’m heading to Oregon, and, frankly, I could use the company. Keeps me from falling asleep.”

                “Yeah? And what is this vineyard?”

                He shrugged. “A couple of years ago, my dad bought a small inn with 75 acres in the Willamette Valley south of Portland. He’s planted most of the land with grapes. He doesn’t know that much about making wine and wants me to learn. That’s why I’m in San Francisco. I’ve been working at a vineyard in Napa Valley just north of here, learning the ropes.” He grinned. “Or maybe I should say, learning the vines.”

                “What kind of sandwich?” she asked, warming toward him and his wacky humor. Her stomach rumbled loud enough for them both to hear it. 

“How does ham and Swiss sound?” he said, giving her a knowing look.    

“Okay.” Lettie didn’t want him to think she couldn’t manage on her own. That was dangerous. She’d learned it the hard way, fighting off a guy who thought he could have her just because he gave her a puff of weed. She’d been careful ever since to stay away from situations and guys like that.

“Well?” He waved her toward the door.

Lettie checked to see if others were within hearing range if she needed them. Plenty of people were hanging around nearby. Thinking it was safe, Lettie climbed the stairs behind Kenton. He didn’t know about the knife tucked into one of the pockets of her jeans.

Inside, she found the same kind of contrast between this clean house and others she’d been in. It wasn’t sparkling clean, but it was tidier than most.

He led her into the kitchen. “Sit down. It’ll only take me a minute to make your sandwich.” He handed her a glass of water. “Mustard? Mayo?”

“Both,” she replied primly, sitting down at a small pine table in the eating area of the room.

She sat quietly, becoming uncomfortable with the idea that he was waiting on her. She wasn’t used to such a gesture. She was usually the one waiting on others both in her foster home and at the church where she’d spent hours each week attending services and events with her foster family. Thinking of them now, a shiver raced across her shoulders like a frightened centipede. It had been her experience that supposedly outstanding members of a church weren’t always kind to those they’d taken into foster care primarily for the money.

“Ready!” said Kenton, jarring her out of thoughts of the past. He placed a plate with the sandwich in front of her and took a seat opposite her.

She lifted the sandwich to her face and inhaled the aroma of the ham. Keeping her eyes on Kenton, she bit into the bread, savoring the taste of fresh food.

He beamed at her with satisfaction when she quickly took another bite.

“Who lives here? Lettie asked.

“A friend of mine,” said Kenton. His gaze remained on her. “You don’t look eighteen.”

She swallowed, and her breath puffed out with dismay. “But I am.”

“And you’re not into drugs and all the free-love stuff everyone talks about?”

Lettie shook her head.  “Not really. I tried weed a couple of times, but it wasn’t for me.” Her strict upbringing had had a greater influence on her than she’d thought.

“Good. Like I said, if you want to ride to Oregon with me, there’s a job waiting for you at the Chandler Hill Inn. We’re looking for help. It would be a lot better than walking the streets of Haight-Ashbury. Safer too.”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “And if I don’t like it?”

He shrugged. “You can leave. One of the staff recently left for L.A. That’s why my father called me to ask if I knew anyone who could come and work there. You’re my only choice.”

Lettie’s heart pounded with hope. Acting as nonchalant as she could, she said, “Sounds like something I’d like to try.”

###

The ride to Oregon was mostly quiet as an easy camaraderie continued between them. Kenton answered any questions she had about him, the inn, and the way he thought about things. Lettie was surprised to learn he hadn’t joined in a lot of the anti-war protests. 

“My best friend died in ’Nam. He believed in serving our country. I want to honor him,” he said to Lettie.

“A boy in my high school was drafted. His parents weren’t happy about it.”  

                “Well, if I’m drafted, I’m going,” Kenton said. “I don’t want to, but I will. I don’t really have a choice.”

                As they talked, they agreed that John Wayne was great in the movie True Grit.

“And I love the Beatles,” said Lettie.

“Yeah, me too. Too bad they just broke up.”

“And what about the new group, The Jackson 5?” Lettie said.

“They’re great.  And I like Simon and Garfunkel and their music too.”

At one point, Lettie turned to Kenton. “Sometimes you seem so serious, like an old man. How old are you, anyway?”

                He gave her a sheepish look. “Twenty-two.”

                They shared a laugh, and in that moment, Lettie knew she’d found a person with whom she could be herself.

###

                Lettie woke to someone shaking her shoulder. She stared into the blue-gray eyes of a stranger and stiffened.

“Lettie, we’re here,” said a male voice.

As she came fully awake, she realized Kenton was talking to her.

“Here at Chandler Hill?” she asked, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.

She looked out through the windshield of the Ford Pinto and gaped at the huge, white-clapboard house sitting on the top of a knoll like a queen overlooking her realm.

Lettie scrambled out of the car and stood gazing at the clean lines of the two-story building. Across the front, four windows offset by green shutters were lined up with identical windows below. Beneath a small, protective, curved roof, glass panels bracketed a wide front door, welcoming guests. To one side, a two-story wing had been added to the house.

Green, leafy bushes offset by an assortment of colorful flowers she didn’t recognize softened the front of the building. As she walked closer, she realized between the main house and the addition a small, stone patio and private garden had been installed.

“Come on in,” said Kenton. “There’s a beautiful view from the back porch.”

Feeling as if she were Alice in a different kind of Wonderland, Lettie entered the house. As she tiptoed behind Kenton, her gaze darted from the polished surfaces of furniture to gilt-edged mirrors to a massive floral bouquet sitting on a large dining-room table. It all seemed so grand.

Kenton led her to a wide porch lining the back of the house. Observing the rolling land before her and, in the distance, the hills crouching in deepening colors of green, Lettie’s breath caught. The sun was rising, spreading a gold topping on the hills like icing on cake.

“Nice, huh?”

Lettie smiled and answered, “I’ve never seen anything so beautiful, so peaceful.”

At the sound of footsteps behind her, she whirled around.

A tall, gray-haired man with striking features similar to Kenton’s said, “Welcome home, son.”

They shook hands, and then the older gentleman turned to her. “And who is this?”

Shy, she stared at the man who seemed so familiar to her.

Kenton nudged Lettie.

Minding her manners, Lettie held out her hand as she’d been taught. “Lettie Hawkins. I’ve come for a job.” A niggling feeling kept her eyes on him longer than necessary. When she could no longer stop herself, she blurted, “Aren’t you Rex Chandler, the movie star?”

He smiled. “Yes, I am. But I’ve changed professions.”

Lettie held back a chuckle of delight. A friend’s mother had privately adored him.

“Why don’t the two of you come into the kitchen,” said Rex. “Mrs. Morley will want to talk to Lettie, and I need to talk to you, Kenton.”

As Lettie followed the men into the kitchen, a woman hurried toward them, crying, “Kenton! Kenton! You’re home at last!”

Laughing, Kenton allowed the woman to hug him. “You’d think I’ve been gone a year, Mrs. Morley.”

“You almost were,” she said, smiling and pinching his cheek. “And look at you! More handsome than ever.”

Looking as if he couldn’t wait for her to focus her attention elsewhere, Kenton said, “Mrs. Morley, I’d like you to meet Lettie Hawkins. She’s here for a job.”

Mrs. Morley’s gaze settled on Lettie. “So, you like to work?”

“She likes to eat,” said Kenton, bringing a smile to Mrs. Morley’s full face.

“By the looks of it, Lettie, you could use more food,” said Mrs. Morley. “Let’s you and I talk about what kind of jobs you could do around here. I’m short-handed at the moment.”

Kenton and Rex left the kitchen.

Mrs. Morley waved Lettie over to a desk in a small alcove in the kitchen. After lowering her considerable bulk into a chair, Mrs. Morley faced her. Her green eyes exuded kindness as she studied Lettie. Her gray-streaked brown hair was pulled back from her face and banded together in a ponytail, giving Lettie a good look at her pleasing features.  

“Have a seat, dear.”

 Lettie sat in the chair indicated for her and clutched her hands. After seeing the small inn and the beautiful countryside, she desperately wanted the job.

“Where are you from, Lettie? And why in the world do you want to work here in the country? I’d think a pretty, young girl like you would want to be in a city having fun.” 

Lettie paused, unsure how to answer her. She’d thought she’d like living in the city, being free to do whatever she wanted. But after four months of doing just that, the excitement had worn off. She liked to know where she was going to sleep at night and when she’d next eat.

 “Maybe I’m just a country girl at heart,” she answered lamely. Her two best friends at home would scoff at her, but right now, that’s how she felt.

“Well, that’s what you’ll be if you stay on. A lot of activity is taking place around here, what with people buying up turkey farms and the like, turning them into vineyards, but it is country. I hope it always will be.” She leaned forward. “Know anything about cooking? Cleaning?”

“Yes,” said Lettie. “I used to do both in my foster home. I was the oldest of eight kids there.”

“Eight? My land, that’s a lot of kids to take in,” said Mrs. Morley.

“It’s a lot of money,” Lettie said, unable to hide her disgust. “That’s why they did it.”

“I see,” said Mrs. Morley, studying her. “So how long have you been on your own?”

“Four months,” she replied. “I was in San Francisco when I met Kenton.”

“Such a good, young man. I’ve known him for a while now,” Mrs. Morley sighed with affection. “You’re lucky he found you. Why don’t we start in housekeeping, see how it goes, and then maybe you can give me a hand in the kitchen.”

“Okay,” Lettie said, jumping to her feet. “Where should I put my things? I need to get them from the car.”

Mrs. Morley gave her an approving look. “I like your eagerness. Let me show you to your room and then I’ll give you a tour.”

The north half of the front of the house consisted of a large, paneled dining room she’d seen earlier. The long mahogany table that sat in the middle of the room held seats for twelve. A summer flower arrangement consisted of pink roses and pink hydrangeas interspersed with white daisies and sat in a cut-glass vase in the middle of the table. Along one wall, above a service counter, an open cupboard made of dark wood stored coffee mugs, extra wine goblets, and water glasses. A coffee maker and a burner holding a pot of hot water sat on the marble counter. A bowl of sugar, a pitcher of cream, and a dish of lemon slices were displayed nearby. At the other end of the counter, a large plate of homemade, chocolate-chip cookies invited guests to take one.

“How many guests do you usually have?” Lettie asked.

“We have six guest rooms, so we have as many as twelve people for the breakfast we serve. During the day, people come and go on their own, tasting wine at nearby vineyards or sightseeing. We offer a simple dinner to those not wishing to travel to restaurants at night.” A look of pride crossed Mrs. Morley’s face. “Sometimes my husband, Pat, grills out, or Rita Lopez cooks up Mexican food. Guests like these homestyle meals. In fact, we’re becoming known for them.”

Lettie’s mouth watered. It all sounded so good.

Mrs. Morley led her to a sideboard, opened its drawers, and gave her a smile. “Let’s see how well you polish silver.”

Later, after being shown how, Lettie was working on the silverware when Kenton walked into the kitchen.

“Well? Are you going to stay?” he asked.

“Yes,” Lettie said with determination. The whole time she’d been cleaning the silver she’d been able to gaze at the rolling hills outside. This, she’d decided, is where she wanted to be. It felt so right.




About the Author

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Judith Keim was born and raised in Elmira, New York, and now makes her home in Idaho with her husband and their two dachshunds, Winston and Wally, and other members of her family.

Growing up, books were always present being read, ready to go back to the library, or about to be discovered. Information from the books was shared in general conversation, giving all of us in the family wealth of knowledge and a lot of imagination. Perhaps that is why I was drawn to the idea of writing stories early on. I particularly love to write novels about women who face unexpected challenges and meet them with strength.

A hybrid author who both has a publisher and who self-publishes, Ms. Keim writes heart-warming stories of strong women who face challenges and find love and happiness along the way. Her books are based, in part, on many of the places she's lived or visited and on the interesting people she's met, creating believable characters and realistic settings her many, loyal readers love.


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