Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sunday Scripture



 The Good Shepherd, Catacomb of Priscilla, Rome, 3rd C. [PD-US]

The apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught. 
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” 
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat. 
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. 
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. 
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
Mark 6:30-34


If you have any prayer needs, please mention them in the comments section so we can join you in prayer. You do not need to include specific names or situations of a private nature, just say that you have a prayer request. The Lord knows your heart and the needs you have. It is a privilege and honor to pray with you and for you.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

New for July from our Love Inspired Suspense Authors

Jean C. Gordon here with three new must buys from our Love Inspired Suspense authors. Just click on a cover to purchase it. And to learn more about Mary, Maggie, and Dana, click on their names.

https://www.amazon.com/Standoff-Midnight-Mountain-Inspired-Suspense-ebook/dp/B077DKW58M/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ll1&tag=jeacgoraut-20&linkId=e0698cde43c5ea5b1b767d532494793d
Standoff at Midnight Mountain
by Mary Alford 

Her brother is missing
And she’s the next target

After her CIA operative brother disappears, leaving behind only a cryptic message, armed men target former agent Rachel Simmons for information. But with help from her ex, Agent Alex Booth, Rachel eludes them, trekking into the mountains in search of her brother. Pursued through the wilderness by highly trained—and very familiar—men, can Alex and Rachel expose a conspiracy that goes deeper than they ever imagined?


https://www.amazon.com/Standing-Fast-Military-K-9-Unit-ebook/dp/B077D9RJL3/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ll1&tag=jeacgoraut-20&linkId=fa836752025721d92ee31b2384ecd9b4Standing Fast
by Maggie K. Black 

Suspected of aiding a serial killer, single dad Chase McLear is desperate to prove his innocence. However, someone’s determined for him to be found guilty—and now they’re targeting Chase’s little girl. Preschool teacher Maisy Lockwood’s father was one of the killer’s victims, but Maisy believes Chase has been framed. Can Chase’s K-9 beagle sniff out the evidence to clear his name before the killer makes them his next victims?



https://www.amazon.com/Cowboy-Bodyguard-Gold-Country-Cowboys-ebook/dp/B077DD3HBD/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ll1&tag=jeacgoraut-20&linkId=6e6edcfb1dffd5f7f5a42cec302b39df
Cowboy Bodyguard
by Dana Mentink 

She must protect a baby
With her secret husband's help
In this Gold Country Cowboys novel, Jack Thorn gets a surprise call from the woman he married in secret years ago. Shannon Livingston needs his protection for herself and the baby she’s hiding from a biker gang targeting the mother. Now Jack must help Shannon, even if shielding her means pretending to be a true husband to the only woman he’s ever loved…

Friday, July 20, 2018

K-9 Fun


Terri Reed here. So many of the Ladies of Love Inspired write books with dogs, especially with K-9 officers and their human handlers.
Right now in Love Inspired Suspense we have a Military K-9 Unit continuity series running that began in March and ends with a Christmas novella.









To view the whole series:
https://www.harlequin.com/shop/brand/love-inspired-suspense.html?ms=Military%20K-9%20Unit&rg=previousRelease&pg=1&pz=12&ord=publicationdate%20DESC%2Ctitle_copy%20asc&vm=grid


My girl Aubrey Rose, Australian Shepherd, and her BFF Lincoln, the Golden Retriever and her other bestie, Jovi, a Border Collie, in the background. 
And for added fun, this video shows a K-9 dog who wants something special before he'll go to work. Trust me you'll laugh.

https://www.facebook.com/wedontdeserveanimalsDM/videos/215899589172236/UzpfSTE1ODUwNzcwMDc6MTAyMTQ5MTA1Mzc2Njg2ODQ/

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Christian romance and the friendship factor

A few years ago my husband and I attended a marriage class at our church. (Yes, even after more than 46 years together, we’re still learning!) The basis for the class was Timothy Keller’s book The Meaning of Marriage. And while I gave a lot of thought to applying the lessons to my own marriage, my writer’s brain was also filing everything away for use with my fictional characters and their relationships. 

Photo by Crew on Unsplash
According to Keller, friendship—our spouse as our very best friend—is crucial to a solid marriage relationship. This concept reminded me of one of the primary differences between Christian romance novels and many secular romances. In secular romances, the initial encounter between the hero and heroine tends to focus heavily on the characters’ physical attributes—the heroine’s curvy figure, limpid eyes, and lustrous long hair; the hero’s trim waist, muscled biceps, and broad shoulders. And where does all this physical attraction lead? Often it’s straight to the bedroom, short-circuiting the “getting to know you” phase during which a meaningful friendship should be developing.

In romantic Christian fiction the characters may still admire each other’s more appealing external attributes—they wouldn’t be human if they didn’t! But even more important are those little glimpses into not only who these characters are at the outset, but who they have the potential of becoming. With each other’s help and encouragement, they can toss their self-protective masks aside and begin to see themselves through God’s eyes. They are set free to grow into the people they were created to be, not only as individuals but within the couple relationship.

Photo by Denisse Leon on Unsplash
True friendship begins when someone who cares about us sees not only our flaws and faults but our best selves—when they’re not only willing but committed to sticking it out with us even when that “best self” retreats. To quote Timothy Keller, “What, then, is marriage for? It is for helping each other to become our future glory-selves, the new creations that God will eventually make us.” That, to me, is the best kind of happily-ever-after!

Let’s talk. Think about your own real-life romance or a romantic novel you’ve recently read. What part did genuine friendship play as romance blossomed? Do you agree with Keller’s ideas about the purpose of marriage?


Myra Johnson writes emotionally gripping stories about love, life, and faith. She’s currently at work on a new Love Inspired mini-series, Hill Country Haven, with recurring characters from Her Hill Country Cowboy and Hill Country Reunion. Myra is a three-time Maggie Awards finalist, two-time finalist for the prestigious ACFW Carol Awards, winner of Christian Retailing’s Best for historical fiction, and winner in the Inspirational category of the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Awards. Originally from Texas but now residing in the beautiful Carolinas, Myra and her husband love the climate and scenery, but they may never get used to the pulled pork Carolinians call “barbecue”! The Johnsons share their home with two very pampered rescue dogs who don’t always understand the meaning of “Mom’s trying to write.” They’ve also inherited the cute little cat (complete with attitude) their daughter and family had to leave behind when they recently moved overseas.


Sign up to receive Myra’s e-news updates here!




Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Katy Lee - RITA Finalist

Today the Craftie Ladies celebrate the RITA finalist of one of their own!!!  Please sit down, smile, and read about Katy Lee and her Rita experience as well as the book Simple Wish
Katy's Call
I wish I could say I am full-time writer and spend my days only spinning tales, but I must have a day job, or in my case a couple of them. When I got the call, I was in transition from my morning job at the elementary schools to my next job at my church. I was frazzled and in a rush, and when the phone rang, I didn’t answer it. I didn’t, but my teenage daughter did. As I’m running out the door to go to work, she came to me with the phone and said, “I think you’ll want to take this.” Having no idea it was the RITA call day, I quickly answered it and listened to the RWA Board member give me the news. It was a glorious moment and gift that I slowed down to receive. I didn’t want to take it lightly or brush it off for work that could wait. I was glad to have my children there to enjoy this special moment with.

Who did you call first?
I called my husband next. He is not a reader, so it has been tough to get him to understand why I want to write, and even must. Recognitions like this help to explain to him the importance of what I do. Plus, he may not always understand, but he is happy for me and wants to see me succeed in all I do. 

What other cool things have happened now that I am a RITA finalist?
This is my second final, so I think my first will always hold the magic of it all. I felt like a princess, and I cherish that and don’t want this second time around to overshadow it. Both experiences are and will be different, and I look forward to celebrating at the conference this year just as much as last time. This years’ experience will have its own place of significance in my life, and I can’t wait to see how.

Katy's book!

One Simple Wish is an Amish Romance. It was my first Amish book I ever wrote, and I will admit I was nervous to try my hand at it. I had my doubts in switching from suspense, but I’ve learned to always trust God to show up and provide what I need when I need it. A few days after I signed the contract to write this book my appendix burst, and for the next three months I had to recuperate on my couch while I researched and wrote. I will say even though it’s not a suspense, I had to put a little mystery in there. 
One Simple Wish:
When her maiden aunts give Eva an early Christmas present—a small wooden box meant to be filled with the desires of her heart—she finds herself praying for a stranger, a traveler whom Gött will guide into a life of honor and faithfulness and honesty. I wish for this honorable man to be mine, she secretly writes on a piece of paper and tucks it away in her prayer box.
A short time later a traveler shows up, hoping to rent a room over her aunts’ bakery shop where Eva works, and she senses he is the man Gött led her to pray for. But because he has left his Amish community and embraced the ways of the English, she knows he can never be hers. 
Along with the very qualities Eva prayed for, Jacob Whittmer has come to town with dangerous secrets going back six years. As his past begins to come to light, he is no longer welcomed by the Amish community in Blossom Creek and must once again face a life on the run.
As disturbing events unfold, Eva makes difficult decisions that will affect her own future. Was she wrong about the desires of her heart? Will her prayers ever be answered? Or will she be forced to endure being shunned by the Amish community and the family she holds so dear, if it means Jacob’s name is cleared?

How many books have you written?

One Simple Wish is my ninth book. I have since written two more Amish books and four cozy mysteries, totaling 15 books in all. I will soon be returning to my first love—suspense. Stay tuned!

What other kudos have you earned?
My book Grave Danger was also a RITA finalist. My book Real Virtue earned a Holt Medallion and an Epic Award. My book Blindsided earned the 2017 Selah Award, as well as second place in the FHL Readers’ Choice Award and the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award.

Once piece of advice you have for other authors:
Never stop learning and trying new things. Grow. Grow. Grow.

Katy Lee’s Bio:

Two-time RITA nominee Katy Lee is the author of 15 published novels. Her suspenseful romances thrill and inspire the reader—from the edge of their seat. A native New Englander, Katy loves to knit warm wooly things. She enjoys traveling the side-roads and exploring the locals’ hideaways. A homeschooling mom of three competitive swimmers, Katy often writes from the stands while cheering them on. Catch up with Katy at KatyLeeBooks.com

Monday, July 16, 2018

Denver HERE WE COME!

Good morning, Terri Reed here busy packing and doing all the last minute things we do before heading off tomorrow morning, bright and early, for the 38th annual Romance Writers of America conference in Denver, Colorado. 2,000 + authors, editors, agents and blogger will converge on the Mile High city to celebrate romance and all its subgenes. There will be workshops, networking and awards ceremonies. The week will culminate with a huge book signing with hundreds of romance authors. If you're in the Denver area or within driving distance, you won't want to miss this event.
It's free to the public and all proceeds benefit Literacy. We are investing in future and current readers!
Many of the Ladies of Love Inspired will be there and we all hope you'll come by to say hello!



Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sunday Scripture

Ministry of the Apostles: Russian icon by Fyodor Zubov, 1660. [PD-US]

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits. 
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey
but a walking stick—
no food, no sack, no money in their belts. 
They were, however, to wear sandals
but not a second tunic. 
He said to them,
“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave. 
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet
in testimony against them.” 
So they went off and preached repentance. 
The Twelve drove out many demons,
and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
Mark 6:7-13

If you have any prayer needs, please mention them in the comments section so we can join you in prayer. You do not need to include specific names or situations of a private nature, just say that you have a prayer request. The Lord knows your heart and the needs you have. It is a privilege and honor to pray with you and for you.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

New for July from our Love Inspired Contemporary Authors

Jean C. Gordon here with a new must buy from our Love Inspired Contemporary authors. Just click on the cover or retailer links to purchase it. And to learn more about Patricia, click on her name.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=His+New+Amish+Family&linkCode=ll2&tag=jeacgoraut-20&linkId=99dfa21e17c3688288c216e95212ad98
His New Amish Family
by Patricia Davids 

Her home—and heart—on the line…in the heartwarming conclusion to The Amish Bachelors series
Widow Clara Fisher’s late uncle promised his farm to her—but she can’t find the documents to prove it! Desperate to stop her Englisch cousin from selling it, she seeks the help of auctioneer Paul Bowman. Paul’s always been a wandering spirit, but will sweet, stubborn Clara and her children suddenly fill his empty life with family and love?

Amazon | B&N | Harlequin | Kobo | Google Play | iBooks

Friday, July 13, 2018

A Summer Love, Chapter 10 by Cate Nolan





~~~  6 months later  ~~~

Jenny woke to blue skies and balmy temperatures - the advantage to living in Summer Shores was gorgeous summer weather all year long. Too bad her mood wasn’t sunshiny to match.

She stretched, rose, and dragged herself to the kitchen, but not even a mug full of Summer Shores Special Blend could spark any joy.

Today was the day.

She and Jake had survived the six month stipulation and had an appointment this morning with their lawyers to complete the sale.

So why was she so sad?

She’d waited six agonizing months, and today her wish would come true. Today she would finally be able to buy out Jake’s half of the cottage. And maybe, just maybe, she’d finally be able to begin to build her new life – one that didn’t include Jake Watkins and his dog.

Maybe once he was really gone – back to his beloved military – maybe then she’d be able to forget him and get on with her life. She clung to that hope because if she had learned anything in the last six months, it was that she couldn’t live a life without him when he lived in the same community. It was amazing, really,  how two people could live within the same mile stretch of beach, but manage to avoid each other so thoroughly for six long months. No dinners. No surprise encounters on the beach. Not even her mother’s finagling had been able to throw them together.

It had been the loneliest six months of her life.

                                                                                
    

Jake filled the coffee pot and flipped the power switch. He needed his coffee strong if he was going to get through this morning. What in the world had he been thinking to agree to six months of avoiding each other? Six months!

He hadn’t known it was possible to miss someone so much – especially when they technically lived within shouting distance.

But there had been no shouting, no whispered conversations, no communication of any kind.

It had been the worst six months of his life.

And it ended today.

But if this deal went through, if he sold this cottage to Jenny, then this end was just the beginning of a long, lonely life without her.

Unless he did something. Unless… unless he shoved pride aside and made one last attempt to win Jenny’s heart and hand.

Jake’s heart brimmed with the most hope he’d felt in months as he got busy, setting a plan into motion. A quick phone call, a frantic rummage through drawers in search of a special box. By the time he heard Jenny’s car in the driveway, he was ready – except for one last thing.

“Mom, if you can hear me, could you put in a good word for us? I could use a little divine intervention here. Pray that I can convince Jenny I’m a changed man, a man worthy of her. And if you could kind of give her a nudge, some kind of sign—”

A knock on the screen door cut him off.

“Coming.” He picked up the tray he’d prepared with mugs, a carafe of coffee and that special box hidden under a napkin.

As he made his way toward the deck, he couldn’t help but recall Jenny's words from six months ago. The words that had set this ludicrous separation in motion.

“I’ll stay out of your way. Then in six months, we see what we want.”
Well, the six months were up, and he knew what he wanted. The only question was whether she shared his dreams.

He elbowed the door open and Ralph burst through, enthusiastically greeting Jenny. Poor guy. He’d missed her, too. Jake set the tray on the table and turned to greet her. Oh what a sight for sore eyes. “Jenny,” he breathed the word. “It’s really good to see you again.”

“Hi, Jake.”
There was no indication in her voice or manner, nothing to give away her feelings. But she looked so sad, he thought his heart might break for her. 

"How have you been, Jen?" 
"Okay. You? Your leg looks good."

He smiled. "Thanks to you, your mom, and Dr. Yang.  She's amazing. I won't say it's good as new, but pretty darn close."

She smiled at his answer, but the smile didn't reach her eyes. Her next words explained why.

"I guess you'll be ready to rejoin your men."

"Would you be sad to see me go?"

"Please don't do this, Jake. Don't play word games."

He watched helplessly as she turned and walked away. Nothing was going as he'd planned. 

Jenny held herself in check. She wouldn't run. She wouldn't cry. She'd be fine. She just needed a moment to pull herself together.  She headed down toward the beach and stood watching the waves roll in. This would all be hers now. This beach, this view to wake to every morning. 




And none of it meant anything without Jake beside her.

Waves were just water rolling onto sand. And sand was just rocks ground down into fine grains.
None of it could fill the aching hole in her heart.


"A penny for your thoughts?"

Jenny squealed. She'd been so lost in her misery that she hadn't heard Jake come up behind her.

He reached out and stroked her cheek. "Why the long face? I would think you’d be happy. We fulfilled the terms of the will."
Jenny kicked at the sand. "By the letter of the law, not the spirit."
"Having second thoughts?"

Was she? Jenny looked at him - this tall, handsome, good man whom she'd loved for more than half of her life. The thought of losing him paralyzed her, but every time she thought she could give in, could admit to her feelings, the hurt came rolling back. The question that was as everpresent as the waves.

Why had he chosen the military over her?


He brushed her hair back, and for a moment, she thought he wanted to kiss her. She broke away, but as she began to run down the beach, the sand weighted her feet. She stopped, watched as the water swirled around her feet the same way the questions swirled in her mind.


She'd never had the courage to ask. Could she do it?
It was now or never.

She turned, but he was gone. Her eyes scanned the beach, and she saw him trudging back toward the cottage. He opened the latch to the gate and climbed the steps. The gate swung closed, and Jenny felt the click. She was too late. She'd waited too long.

She trudged along, kicking the sand, until a commotion caught her attention.  Ralph was barking, Jake was yelling, and the seagull was flying right toward her.  She watched as Jack opened the gate and sent Ralph after the seagull. "What?" She shook her head wondering what could have happened.
Ralph came bounding across the sand to her, leaping in the air, chasing after the seagull who seemed to have something caught in his beak.



Ralph was relentless, and Jenny had to laugh at his antics until she saw Jake starting to run across the sand too. No, he'd hurt his leg again.

"Ralph, here boy. Stop. Heel."

Ralph took one last lunge at the seagull which swooped towards Jenny. Something slipped from his beak and sailed through the air.

Jenny instinctively opened her hands and caught the box as it tumbled toward the sand, but her eyes were on Jake as he slid to a halt in front of her. He had the most horrified expression on his face.

She looked down at the box in her hand.
No! It couldn't be. How had the seagull gotten the engagement ring that Jake had given her, that she'd returned?

Looking at Jake's face, she realized it didn't really matter. She extended her hand. "Here. I think this is yours."

Jake stared down at her. "No, it was actually meant to be yours."

"But?"
He shrugged. "I had the foolhardy notion that maybe there was still a chance for us. I was going to offer the ring to you this morning."

She didn't answer. Couldn't answer.

"It's okay." He reached out to take the box.

She held on tight. "Not until you answer a question for me."

He waited.

The words froze on her lips. Now or never, she reminded herself. Because really, what did she have to lose? If she didn’t ask, she’d always wonder.

"Why did you choose the military over me?"

Jake tucked his hands in his back pockets and hung his head. How could he possibly explain, especially when he had the strongest feeling that their entire future hung on his response to that question. A familiar voice sounded in his head. Try honesty.

Jake took a long breath and exhaled slowly. "Back then, I didn't think of it that way. I wasn’t running away from you, Jenny. I was running from myself. I'd just found out some confusing information about my father. It scared me. I was an angry young man trying to get away from everything I was mad about in my life. It didn't make sense. And what I did, made no sense.

"The truth is, I ran away from the only thing in my life that had ever been good, because I was too much of a fool to accept it. 

"I loved you, Jenny. With everything that was in me, I loved you. But I was in a bad place. You were too good for me.

"I joined the military because I wanted to do something with my life that would make me worthy of you. Defending my country seemed like an honorable solution.

"But it backfired. Because all you saw was me leaving you for the military."

Jenny swallowed hard. "It hurt, Jake. I was so lost, so alone. I couldn't figure out what I'd done to drive you away."

"You did nothing wrong."

"I knew you were angry, Jake. I didn't know why, but that angry man you'd become was the boy I fell in love with the very first time we met. I deluded myself that our love could solve all your problems. The same instincts that made me choose nursing made me want to heal you. 

 "That was no basis for building a relationship. I know that now. We were both young and unsettled. As much as I wish it hadn’t taken us fifteen years  - and six months – to figure it out, it would have been a mistake to marry back then."

He grasped her hands and held them up to his heart. "Would it be a mistake now? Please, Jenny. Tell me it's not too late."
When she didn't immediately answer, he continued.

"I’ve had a lot of time to think these past six months in rehab. Please hear me out.  I’ve served over fifteen years, and I aim to serve out my twenty because I made a commitment and I need to see it through. But I’m not that brash young man anymore. I don’t need to see action to feel alive.

"There’s only one thing I need, and that’s you, Jenny."

He pulled the box from his pocket as he sank down on a knee in the sand. "Will you marry me? Will you live with me in Summer Shores? Will you be my wife and grow old with me?"

Tears streamed down Jenny's face as she sank down in the sand beside him. "I love you, Jake Watkins. I've loved you for what seems like my entire life. I can't think of anything I want more than to spend the rest of it at your side, as your wife. Yes, I will marry you."

He slipped the ring on her finger and pulled her gently into his arms so he could kiss her as he'd been dreaming for six long months. 

Ralph ran in circles around them barking as the seagull swooped in and reclaimed the empty box, but Jake and Jenny ignored them both. They were too busy claiming what mattered most - the love they were destined to share forever here on Summer Shores.

The End









Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Summer Love, Chapter 9 - By Jolene Navarro



He could feel Jenny move closer to him.

“You’re leaving? When?” Her voice was soft.

Jake turned his attention from the endless coastal sky and faced her. He took the time to study her features. Over the years she had grown even more beautiful. The beauty came from her eyes. The woman she had grown into was more than his teenage self could have ever imagined.

Back then he really knew her. One look and her thoughts and feeling were clear to him without a single word.

Now? He had no idea what she was thinking. The years had taught her to hide, to hold back. That knowledge just about destroyed him. Had he done that to her?
Losing his train of thought he blinked and refocused. 

She had asked him something.

Oh yes, his medical leave

He leaned back on the rocker. “I plan to finish out my twenty years as soon as I get released. I’m looking at going to Seattle. A buddy told me of a clinic up there that got him back to full duty.”

She sat down next to him. “You don’t have to go all the way to the Northwest coast. Less than forty miles from here there is a clinic you could go too. My mom sends patients to Dr. Yang and her team all the time with really good results. It’s on my short list of places I want to apply. They’d take great care of you. They treat plenty of soldiers.”

She wanted him to stay here? He swallowed, not brave enough to make eye contact, he went back to looking at the water. It was probably just the nurse in her wanting to help. Nothing personal.

All those years ago his stupid teenage self, made sure her love for him had been demolished. Not knowing what to say he opted for silence. That was the safest tactic.

“Jake, Am I the reason you want to leave your home?” She leaned closer, her voice low.

Her scent surrounded him. He closed his eyes. There was no right answer to that question. Before he could come up with any string of words that he was willing to share, Ralph barked and jumped off the porch.

A seagull had landed on the gate at the end of the sidewalk. The gate that had been left open and the single-minded dog was running straight into the street, heading to the beach. The street that hardly had any traffic this time of day now had two delivery trucks heading their way.

Without thought, Jake jumped out of his rocker and leaped down the steps yelling for Ralph to stop. But his knee, the stupid useless knee gave out as his foot hit the ground. He caught the railing before falling on his face and he managed to land on one knee. Through clenched teeth, he grunted.

The small sound stopped Ralph in his tracks. He came running back, nudging Jack with his nose. A whine that sounded like an apology vibrated in the dog’s chest.

Jenny was at his side. Her nursing skills evident in her movements and mannerism. “Easy. Don’t move yet.”

“I’m okay.” He heard his own growl escape his throat. He took a deep breath and evaluated the knee. Slowly he pulled himself up. Her hands stayed in contact with his skin, holding him steady.

This was not how he wanted her to see him. The warmth in her touch made him ache for all the things he had taken for granted. Talking with his mother, Jenny being his. A body that was strong and fast. He had lost everything. No wonder the military didn’t care if he came back.

She guided him to the rocking chair. He looked at the ceiling of the porch then moved his gaze to the beautiful door. All the details of the house his mother had been so proud of.

He hadn’t lost everything. He had the house. But all that did was remind him of the important things he had let slip through his fingers. Time and his arrogance had taken so much and there wasn’t anything he could do to get them back.

Ralph rested his head on Jake’s thigh. His big brown eyes pleading for forgiveness. He scratched the dog in his favorite place. “It’s okay boy. No damage done. But no more seagull chasing.” He lifted the leg out in front of him, straightening the knee then flexed.

“Jake, If I’m the reason you want to leave Summer Shores, we can work something out. We don’t have to see each other. My mother can’t force us to eat dinner together. Your mother’s will stated that we both had to live in Summer Shores for six months. We can do that then decide on the details. You want to go travel the world. I want to buy your half of the house. We can both get what we want.”

“You want to live in my family’s beach house?” He hated the warm satisfied feeling that gave him.

“I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.” She gave him a smile. Leaning in to pat his leg. “That’s what broke us up. You wanted to leave and never look back. I didn’t know what I wanted. I didn’t know who I was.”

The thought of her living here with another man, raising children that weren’t his, tore at his gut. Why had he been so stubborn back then? But he wasn’t the only one that made mistakes. She had walked away from him and never looked back. “You left too.”

She eased into the rocker next to his. “I did and it was the best thing I could have done. We were so young.” She flashed a crooked grin. “Some might say immature. I did a lot of growing up while I was away.”

He nodded. “Yeah. I thought I was missing out on something. Only to find everything I wanted was right here.” Did they have a second chance? Or was he reading too much…seeing something he wanted to see. He sighed.

Being unsure of himself was new and he hated it. Was he being a fool for hoping? Could he, should he risk his pride again by asking her to give them another chance? They were adults now.

She stood. Looking across the yard, across Shoreline street to the endless horizon.  The waves reaching for the beach over and over again. The air was heavy with humidity and unanswered questions. 
Did they have a second chance?

Without turning to him she finally spoke. “This could work Jake. You do your rehab and live here in your family home. I’ll stay out of your way. Then in six months, we see what we want.”

The breeze brushed strands of hair over her shoulders. There was the real question. What did he want? If he agreed to her plan he’d have six months to figure it out. Six months.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A Summer Love, Chapter 8, by Jean C. Gordon


Jenny looked up the path to the beach house and her gazed locked with Jake’s. She had enough saved from her time with the Peace Corps and stint working in Alaska to buy his half of the house, nearly enough to buy the whole property outright. But Jake had said yesterday that that wasn’t an option. She strode up the walkway to the beach house determined to get some answers from Jake before she lost her nerve.

“Woof,” Ralph greeted her first.

She patted the dog on the head. “Good morning.”

“Good morning. Sit down.” Jake motioned to the matching rocker. “I’d ask you what brings you out here so early, but I think I know.”

Jenny warmed in a way that had noting to do with the bright sunshine. She and Jake had often known each other’s thoughts.

“You want to know why I can’t let you buy my half of the house.”

It looked like they might still have that part of their former connection. She studied his serious expression and swallowed the lump in her throat. And how much more?

“Yes.” She sat on the edge of the rocker.

His eyes narrowed. “Then, you didn’t receive your copy of Mom’s will from her attorney, didn’t know about the codicil she’d added concerning the house?”

“No, my mail-forwarding from Alaska has not been particularly timely.” A knot of irritation formed in her gut from his implication that she’d feigned ignorance about the house, and just when she’d decided this morning that they might be able to at least salvage part of their former friendship. “I told you last night I didn’t know she’d left me half ownership.”

“So that’s not why you came back?”

“No, it was time. Summer Shores is my home. When my commitment in Alaska was done, it called me back. For good.” She looked at him full faced, her heart thumping, trumpeting to him to say the same.” Jenny closed her eyes and leaned back in the rocker, stunned at the revelation. She wanted more than simple friendship.

She opened her eyes and breathed deeply. “But that’s why you’re finally home.” She hated the way the emphasis on finally had crept into her voice.

He flexed his ankle and she wanted to crawl under her chair, or maybe under the veranda. Dear Lord, why can’t I help blurting the wrong things to Jake? The night she broke their engagement flashed in her head.

“I’m sorry. You were hurt, That’s why you’re home. Do you want to talk about it?”
“No.”

Jenny didn’t know which of her questions he was answering, but she had the wisdom to keep her mouth shut.

“I want to talk about Mom’s stipulation about the house. Before either of us can sell, we have to spend six months in Summer Shores at the same time.”

Unable to speak because of the hope ping ponging through her, Jenny nodded understanding at the opportunity she … they’d been given. “Starting now,” she said, “now that you’re home.”

What looked like pain twisted his face. “No, I’m not home here. I’m only on medical leave.”

He was still in the military. The other questions she’d had for him were unimportant. The only important question was, did she still, now, love him enough to let him go to complete what he needed to do, as she’d completed what she’d needed to do before she’d come back to Summer Shores? To give them another chance?

Monday, July 9, 2018

A Summer Love Chapter 7, by Pamela Tracy

Fifteen years ago, he hadn't been mature enough to fight for her.  He'd had too many doubts and wanted to make something of himself and then come back for her, a hero.

He'd been sent overseas and seldom made it home.  When he did managed to land on Summer Shore's soil, Jenny was always off somewhere.  First, she attended in college, graduating with honors.  Then,  she'd joined the Peace Corp and used her nursing skills in places where few nurses trod.  Last he'd heard, she was in Alaska working at a clinic in a rural area.

Looks like their dreams weren't all that different.  Too bad they couldn't have made something of themselves together.

Bending down, he rubbed his ankle.  The damaged ligaments had been reattached to the bone, and yes, the military doctors called him "good as new" but they'd not put him back into active duty.  He was good as new and a little  unstable - thus, his limp.

Truth was, Jake wanted to fulfill his twenty year commitment to the US of A.  To do that, he needed his ankle to fully heal, and the military doctors to verify that he was better than new.  One of his buddies had gone through the same type of injury and had shared the name of a specialty clinic up in Oregon.

But, Jake would need a good chunk of change for the therapy.  If he were the only owner of his childhood home and sold it, he'd be able to swing it.



Sitting back in the rocker on the wrap-around veranda, he stroked Ralph's furry head as he watched  Jenny shashaying up the walkway.  Why had she returned home?  Why hadn't she married? One thing for sure, she'd not changed a bit.

No, he had, and although his goal had been to come back a hero - for her - it looked like he might fail again.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

A Summer Love Chapter 6, by Deb Kastner


Jake had trouble sleeping that night. Even the gentle sounds of the breeze and the ocean waves couldn’t settle him down. It didn’t help that Ralph lay sprawled across the bottom of the bed snoring like a chainsaw.



He was home. This is where he’d instinctively come to seek comfort and peace. Instead, the ache in his heart grew with every breath he took.

How had it become so complicated? He’d known going into this that his mother had left the house to both him and Jenny. And he’d had every intention of giving her first dibs on the sale of his half. But now that he’d seen her face-to-face, that all seemed wrong somehow.

Jenny.

She had been there for his mother in her last hours, not him. Guilt flooded through him, but at the same time he was grateful for Jenny's support. He knew how much his mother cared for Jenny, the hopes and dreams she'd had that Jenny and Jake would have a future together.

He'd been the one to screw that future up, and yet Jenny had apologized to him tonight for her part in their troubled past. He’d had the feeling she’d been waiting for something—something from him.

Like what? To tell her he was sorry he’d impulsively enlisted before discussing it with her? That he’d assumed she’d go along with his plans and leave the hometown she loved? That he'd spent his whole life ignoring the gaping hole in his heart?

What difference would it make now? The past was past.

And now? He was nothing more than a broken down man with a broken down dog. What could he possibly offer her?

And yet…

Suddenly it felt as if his mother’s presence was in the room with him. Tears slipped down his cheeks as he remembered her comforting arms around him, the sage wisdom she had so often shared.

Maybe…maybe he was looking at this all wrong.

What if his mom hadn’t overlooked the change in her will? What if she’d left it the way it was on purpose?

Could it possibly be that she’d intentionally left him this one last message? All she’d ever wanted was her son’s happiness.

And the only thing in the world that could truly make Jake’s heart happy was…

Jenny.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

A Summer Love, Chapter 5, by Christina Rich


Everything in Jake wanted to reach out to her, to sit beside her and hold her hand, but his gut warned him to tread lightly. Especially with the way she’d reacted to his touch when she ushered him out on the patio. “You didn’t know?”

Jenny looked up at him, her blue eyes glimmering in the waning sun. Her mouth opened and closed. She shook her head. “No. She never said a word. Not even—” 

“Not,” he hesitated, unsure if he wanted to know, but he’d already jumped, and it was too late to retract the question. “Even what, Jenny?”

Her lids slid shut as she toyed with a pendant around her neck. A necklace he’d recognized as his mother’s. A soft pink pearl nestled inside a half seashell.

“Jenny?”

“I’m sorry, Jake. I was there the day she died, delivering a bowl of Maria’s chicken and noodles.” She stammered as tears welled. “She was weak and frail, but I didn’t know. We sat on the deck for hours, talking and listening to the waves. Like old times.”



He could see them huddled beneath the heavy quilts his mother and Jenny had made together. When Jake refused home economic lessons from his mother, she’d taken a willing Jenny under her wing. He’d often come in from crabbing with his dad to find his mom and Jenny huddled over a sewing machine, or at the stove cooking up chowder. 

“Not once did I realize—l” Jenny crossed her arms. “It wasn’t until a nurse came over and checked on her that I realized how sick she was. I didn’t know about the house.” 

Emotions warred within Jake. He missed his mom. He missed waking up to her humming. He missed the scent of fresh baked biscuits in the morning. He tamped down the jealousy bubbling in his chest and allowed himself to feel hurt on Jenny’s behalf. He should have been there. He should have had those last moments, not Jenny. If he had he could have saved Jenny the grief. “Thank you. For being there with her.” 

“I don’t have to tell you she loved you. You were her world, and she was very proud of you.” Jenny pulled her bottom lip between her teeth and rose from the bench on shaky legs. “I can sign my half over to you if you’d like but promise me if you sell you’ll allow me to purchase it.”

“Not an option,” he said as she brushed by him. 

She glanced over her shoulder. “What do you mean?”