A couple days ago I introduced you to Kimberly Rose Johnson and her latest release, AN ENCORE FOR ESTELLE. Kimberly was gracious enough to share an excerpt with everyone here today. Check it out!
Estelle Rogers willed her galloping heart to slow. Why had she come back to Oak Knoll, Oregon? It wasn’t like the people here had welcomed her with open arms six years ago.
But that was then. Things were different now. Helen Wood had invited her for a visit
over the summer, and she could never say no to the one woman who’d accepted her in spite of her flaws. Besides, she needed time away to think about her future. Estelle
squared her shoulders, raised a hand, and pressed the doorbell beside the farmhouse door.
The door flung open. “You’re here!” Helen’s smile lit her eyes.
Estelle blinked. Helen looked like a young Mary Tyler Moore—she looked fantastic.
Could this be the same woman she’d grown close to all those years ago? Granted when she’d last seen Helen, she’d been recovering from a stroke, but a different woman stood before her now. The rosy-cheeked brunette looked fifteen years younger than her fifty five years. “You look amazing.”
Helen blushed and waved a hand in front of her face. “Derek sent me on a spa
vacation. You should try one. You’d love it.”
The mention of her one-time boyfriend didn’t affect her like it used to. Helen’s son
was now happily married, and she adored his wife, Kayla. “If I didn’t know better, I’d
say you’re hinting that I need a makeover.”
The older woman shrugged. “Not at all. You look lovely as usual.” She stepped
back, opening the door wider. “Come in. I can’t believe you’re actually here. I was afraid you might change your mind.”
“How silly would I be to do something like that?” If Helen only knew how many
times she had almost cancelled the trip. But she would never reveal that to her dear
Helen looped her arm through Estelle’s. “I prepared lunch for us in the garden.”
“I love your garden. It’s so serene. I’m glad the weather is cooperating today. I
noticed you’ve had a lot of rain lately.”
“We have, but summer doesn’t usually start here until July. Welcome back to
Oregon.” She chuckled. “I remember how much you enjoyed my garden the last time you were here, so I’ve been praying the weather would cooperate.”
Of course she had. Helen was like that—she had no qualms about asking the Lord
for a sunny day.
“You’ll be staying in the guest cottage while you’re here.”
Estelle stilled. “I thought your . . .” What does one call a man who works around the
farm doing odd jobs? “handyman—”
“His name is Blake, and he moved into the barn so you could have the cottage.”
“That was nice of him, but the barn?”
Helen patted her arm. “Now don’t you worry about Blake. He’s a grown man and
can take care of himself. Besides, he and Derek built a nice room out there. He has all the comforts of home.”
Estelle raised a brow. “If you say so.”
“I do.” She guided them through the house and out the French doors that led to the
Estelle caught her breath. Water bubbled from a fountain near the cottage. A light
breeze rustled the leaves on the birch trees overhead. A large vase of multi-colored
flowers sat in the center of a round table covered with a white cloth. “It’s more beautiful than I remember. You’ve added some new features.”
“I’m glad you like it. This space has been a labor of love. I spend as much time as I
am able to out here.” She motioned toward a wooden chair padded with pillows. “Have a seat. I’m so pleased you finally took me up on my offer to take an extended vacation.”
“Me too. Although whether I stay the entire three months you had in mind is up in
the air. If I’m needed in LA, I’ll have to return.” There was no way she could put Jeff off for three months—it wouldn’t be fair to either of them.
“Of course. After all, you’re a woman in constant demand. What with your
restaurant and acting career.”
“I don’t know how in demand I am these days. I gave up acting years ago, and my
restaurant runs smoothly thanks to my executive chef and my fantastic manager. Between those two, the only thing I’m needed for is paying the bills.” She sat up taller. “What’s for lunch?” She wasn’t hungry, but anything was better than talking about her professional life.
Helen’s face lit up as she pulled the cloth off a serving tray. “I prepared a chicken
salad, fresh fruit, and for dessert I made homemade peach ice cream.”
“That sounds delicious.” She allowed Helen to serve her then bowed her head as her
hostess offered a blessing for the food.
“Amen.” Helen placed a cloth napkin in her lap. “I wasn’t sure what you like, but I
remembered you enjoyed this dish when you were last here.”
“You have a good memory, especially considering you’d had a stroke shortly before
I arrived. I’m surprised you remember much about those weeks.”
“I recall pretty much everything. It wasn’t like I had a lot to do to fill my mind.
Having you here helped with my therapy.”
How had she not managed to find the time to visit this sweet woman sooner, and
more important why had she been so nervous? Helen was as kind and genuine in person as she’d been in their weekly correspondence these past six years.
Helen’s face brightened as she looked past Estelle. “Good afternoon, Blake. I’d like
you to meet a friend. She’s the one staying in the cottage.”
Estelle turned to face the man. She sucked in a breath. He had to be over six feet tall. His dark hair had a messy look that she liked. Get it together. He wasn’t the first
ruggedly handsome man she’d ever met. Plus there was Jeff.
He looked down at her with chocolate brown eyes. “It’s nice to meet you. Helen has
told me all about you.”
Estelle shot a look toward Helen. “Don’t believe everything you hear.”
Oooh, I LOVE where this story is going, and I think you will, too.
Amazon buy link:https://www.amazon.com/Encore-Estelle-Melodies-Love-Book-ebook/dp/B071Z3C5SG
It’s been quiet in this corner for a lot of reasons.
- End of school year madness. Why does it surprise me every year?
- Loss of a dear, dear friend
- Tom’s travel schedule
- Co leading a small group study with Tom
- Oh, and I’m releasing ENGAGED this month!
ENGAGED is the third book in the Surrendering Time Series. ENTRUSTED was about surrendering the present. ENTANGLED was about surrendering the past. ENGAGED? You guessed it. Surrendering the future.
I loved ENTRUSTED, but the process was a challenge because it was new and I was full of doubt. I did not love ENTANGLED. The story has been a favorite with readers, but I couldn’t relate to Carla, so it made the writing process difficult. I struggled more with doubt. The second book syndrome is real.
ENGAGED has been fun to write. It brings back some humor and sass that I had in ENTRUSTED and carries a theme I know too well. Surrendering your dreams for God’s plans.
I’ll share more as time is closer, but for now, there is a chance for one US winner to win a signed copy of ENGAGED.
Visit Patti’s Porch and leave a comment on the post. Of course, you need to read the post. It’s a good story, and all true. I’ll never forget how that all came together. Only God.
If you aren’t a newsletter subscriber, now is the time! I am working this weekend on making ENTRUSTED a free gift to newsletter subscribers as a celebration of ENGAGED. Subscribe HERE!
It was one of those God taps that I wanted to ignore. Late last year I felt I was supposed to write a devotional using the surrender themes explored in my contemporary romance series, Surrendering Time. Not only that, but write it from the characters point of view. I’d never heard of such a thing, and by obeying, I knew I was delaying book 3, ENGAGED, even more.
But obey I did. It took longer than I thought with unexpected travel and child sickness, but it’s done.
FINDING FREEDOM THROUGH SURRENDER-A 30 Day Devotional, features short readings on surrendering fear, loss, change, regret, and the future. If you’ve read ENTRUSTED or ENTANGLED, you will visit with beloved characters like Ben, Jenna, Carla, Will, Sara, and more. If the series is new to you, no worries. The devotional will introduce you to the characters without spoilers. Then, once ENGAGED is released this spring, you will be ready to jump in.
It’s in eBook format, so download the free Kindle app and you can read on your phone, tablet, desktop, laptop, and of course, Kindle. It’s only available on Amazon.
I’d love for you to spread the word. Early feedback showed that many of the readings were exactly what readers were struggling with at that time. That’s God, and I’m grateful He allows me to write for Him.
Take a look!
Gwen Marcey takes death in stride. Until she’s faced with her own mortality.
Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is between jobs when she accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky—a small town facing big-city crime. But before Gwen can finish her first drawing of the serial rapist who is on the loose, the latest witness vanishes. Just like all the others.
Gwen suspects a connection between the rapist and the “accidental” deaths that are happening around town, but the local sheriff has little interest in her theories. When her digitally-obsessed teenage daughter joins her, Gwen turns her attention to a second assignment: going undercover in a serpent-handling church. She could get a handsome reward for uncovering illegal activity—a reward she desperately needs, as it seems her breast cancer has returned. But snakes aren’t the only ones ready to kill. Can Gwen uncover the truth—and convince anyone to believe her—before she becomes a victim herself?
In a thrilling race against time, When Death Draws Near plunges us into cold-case murders, shady politics, and a den of venomous suspects.
This was a ride, and a wild one at that. I am deathly afraid of snakes. I can’t look at stuffed animal snakes, cartoon ones, none of it. So I wasn’t sure how I would do with this book that tackles snake-handling in church.
I confess, I couldn’t read it at night. There was only one scene that was scary for me, but the thought of it made me read during the day, and I really enjoyed it. It is obvious the author thoroughly researched this book. The characters were so well-developed, especially Gwen. This is not the first book in her series, but it definitely can stand alone. I learned a lot about her. Single mom. Cancer Survivor. Forensic Artist.
I enjoyed her daughter working with her, and that I could not figure out why was good, and who was evil. As Gwen kept saying, “Trust no one.”
I hope you trust me, though. When Death Draws Near is a suspenseful plot I’ve never run across before that keeps you on edge. It’s dynamic, humorous at times, and full of action. I definitely recommend it.
To purchase When Death Draws Near, click here.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.