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My latest novel, Sara's Promise, is due to be published on December 10th and I'm getting very excited about it. I hope my readers will enjoy it as much as they have my other two women's fiction novels. You've all seen the cover, but so far, other than the short description, you haven't had a chance to read any of the novel itself. I am happy to say that today I am sharing with you an excerpt from the second half of Chapter One. While this is only a small glimpse into the story, it reveals a bit about the characters and their feelings for each other.
Sara's Promise is a romance, but not a short, steamy type of romance. It is a story that will touch your heart and maybe even make you wonder about fate, destiny and soul mates. Unlike Memories and Widow, Virgin, Whore, you won't need an entire box of tissues to get through this book. Okay, you may need a few, but you won't be crying a lot! Hopefully, though, it will still evoke strong feelings from you as you follow the characters through the joys and heartaches in their lives.
Be sure to add Sara's Promise to your "To Read" list on Goodreads
Here is the full-length book description of Sara's Promise and an excerpt from the second half of Chapter One.
William Grafton had the perfect life. He had a lovely wife, Sara, and two wonderful children. But one day his perfect forever was shattered when Sara died suddenly, leaving him alone to raise his children and figure out how he would ever get through life without his soul mate. Five years later, he finds himself looking into a familiar pair of blue-green eyes that remind him of Sara. The woman is the exact opposite of Sara, yet he finds he is drawn to her. But after a few strange occurrences, he begins to wonder – has his Sara come back to him as she once promised in the form of this new woman? Or are these just coincidences?
Annie Paxton doesn't believe in soul mates or fate. She had watched her father die of a broken heart after her mother passed away and has since cast away any fairy tale ideas of love. Then she meets the man who has been haunting her dreams and she begins to see love in a whole new light. But her dream man is still tied to his deceased wife, and Annie doesn't know if he will ever be able to break away from his past. As strange occurrences unfold, Annie wonders if William could ever truly love her for herself and not for the traits that remind him of Sara.
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In the far corner sat an easel, an unfinished painting upon it, and a table beside it holding brushes and paints that hadn't been touched in months. Sara walked over to the painting and examined it, running her hand lightly over the watercolors, the soft blues and tans that were the beginnings of a beach and ocean scene. When had she started this painting? She couldn't remember. When will she finish it? She had no idea.
"Daydreaming?" William asked as he quietly entered the room. Sara turned, startled at first, then gave him one of those smiles, the kind that made her whole face light up and made her blue-green eyes sparkle. In truth, William had been watching her from the doorway for a while, standing there only in her sweater, admiring how her long legs still curved in all the right places, how her slender arms and hands still moved with the grace of a dancer. At thirty-six, her blond hair still shined bright from the touch of the sun and not a trace of age had etched itself upon her face. She was as beautiful as the day he'd met her in college when she was only eighteen and full of joy and hope and promise. And although her classic features and tall, slender body had always made men take a second glance, it was her brilliant blue-green eyes that held William's attraction. They had attracted him to her all those years ago, and they still captivated him.
Sara continued to smile at him as she headed to her closet and stepped inside, slipping the heavy sweater off and replacing it with a satin nightgown. She walked again past the painting to the dresser mirror to brush her hair, this time ignoring the half-finished watercolor painting as if it was of no importance.
William came up behind her and placed a soft kiss on the nape of her neck. Looking at her reflection in the mirror, he asked gently, "When will you finish it?"
Sara shrugged; acting like it wasn't important. "When I have time," she said casually, although inside she felt a tug at her heart. She had no idea where that time would come from.
"When you make the time, you mean," William said softly, as if reading her thoughts. He kissed her again and then headed off into the bathroom to get ready for bed as Sara pulled back the comforter and sheets. But again, she found her eyes, then herself, drifting back to the painting in the corner. Most days she found it easy to ignore the fact that she wasn't painting, wasn't creating illusions of colors floating on canvas. She could busy herself with everything else that came with the job of wife and mother, but tonight it seemed to haunt her, this need to create, to use her God-given talents, the ones that did not include minivans, washing machines, or computers.
She sighed as she looked at the brochures piled on the paint table, brochures telling of upcoming painting workshops, contests, and fellowships. They were there to include in the monthly newsletter, but they were also there to remind her of what she was missing.
She had been good once, more than good, accomplished, and she could revive her talents as easily as she could whip up a batch of cookies. At the young age of eighteen, her first year of college, she'd already won several awards for her paintings and had even had one circulated in a national art show, showing at art galleries across the country. Her teachers saw her talent and nurtured her in the two years she attended school. But by then she'd met William, an architecture major, who was two years ahead of her in school. When he graduated they married, and she left school behind, but not her painting. As he began his career designing homes, she continued painting, winning more contests and awards. But then Sandra was born, and two years later, Samuel, and she found her time filled with diapers, feedings, playgroups and all else motherhood entailed. Then William and his partner started their own firm and his hours became long, so Sara threw herself completely into the kids. They built their dream house, which Sara helped design and completely decorated from top to bottom. And the years went on, with each passing year Sara telling herself she would find more time for painting as the children grew older, but each year finding her time became more precious as she ran the kids around and attended their various activities. The only painting she'd completed in all those years was the one of their house, the one that hung proudly over the mantel in the living room. Others were started, but usually sat, like the one in the corner now, until they were put away in a closet when she could no longer bear to look at the unfinished canvases. Maybe this one would join them, she thought sadly, as she continued to study it. Maybe that was where they all belonged.
William came back into the room wearing flannel pajama bottoms and a T-shirt, catching Sara's eye as she turned from the painting once more. Both smiled, and she padded across the soft carpet to crawl into bed beside him. Taking a tube of cucumber-melon hand lotion out of the nightstand drawer, she squeezed a bead of lotion into her palm before dropping it back into the drawer. Slowly, she started rubbing the lotion into her hands and arms.
William smiled at her as he watched her nightly routine of rubbing lotion into her hands and arms. "You really should make time for yourself to paint again. The kids don't need you half as much as you think."
Sara looked up at him, the man she'd spent almost half her life with, the man she knew she'd spend forever with. His wavy black hair was damp from the shower, curling gently at his temples and neck. He wore it longer than fashion dictated these days, and she liked it on him that way. She always had. She placed her hand on his chest and snuggled up next to him. He felt warm and smelled of soap and shampoo. He felt good.
"They still need me more than they think, even at their ages," she said into his chest.
William wrapped his arm around her shoulders and caressed her. "From what I heard today, they don't appreciate you as much as they should," he said gently, adding softly, "None of us do."
Sara smiled appreciatively into his chest. It was rare for William to acknowledge all that she did. She knew he appreciated it all and depended upon her completely. He worked long hours at his business, as well as putting in several more hours each night at home, and her being available to the kids twenty-four hours a day made it easier for him. He never had to worry about being home at a certain time, who'd feed the kids, who'd pick up the dry cleaning or who'd fill the refrigerator with groceries. It was all done, magically, quietly, completely, by Sara. Holidays, birthdays, vacations, everything was planned by her and her alone. And she loved doing it, there was no doubt. But it did make it feel all the more worthwhile when he acknowledged the work she put into family and home.
"You know, you've spoiled us all," William continued, pulling her even closer. "We would be completely lost without you."
Sara pulled away enough to look up into his eyes, her own serious. "Then it's a good thing none of you will ever know what that's like," she said with certainty.
He smiled. "How can you be so sure?"
"I just know," Sara said. "Even if something happened to me, I'd still find a way to be here for you and the kids. That's how strong our bond is."
William looked at her, half-amused, half-skeptical, making Sara laugh softly.
"Oh, Billy," she said, calling him by the nickname of long ago that only she still used. "I've told you a thousand times, we're soul mates. We were together before we met, we'll be together long after we're gone. And even if we cannot be together for a time, I'll find a way to make sure you and the kids are happy and cared for, one way or another."
It was William's turn to laugh, not unkindly. He loved her artistic ways in everything she did. Especially in the way she viewed love and life.
"You are forever the romantic," he told her, kissing her gently on the forehead. "And I hope you're right."
Sara raised her lips to his and they kissed, soft and sweet at first, then turning warm and passionate. Soon they were naked in each other's arms with a passion that only years of loving one person can bring, and Sara once again showed him just how sweet forever could be.
I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from Sara's Promise. The week of the release, December 10th through 17th, several book and author blogs will be sharing small excerpts from Sara's Promise, so be on the lookout for the Book Release Blog Tour Schedule. Also, for those of you who haven't read MEMORIES yet, if you buy the Kindle copy you can read the first three chapters of Sara's Promise in the back.