Thursday, April 30, 2009

Drawing today!

Several entered the contest for the free copy of GENERATION G - Advice for Savvy Grandmas Who Will Never Go Gray. This is a fun one I think you'll like!
Please contact me at with your mailing address so I may send you your prize! Thanks for playing, everyone!
Check back soon for more contests and giveaways!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Guest blogging

Please come visit me today at CRAFTIE LADIES OF ROMANCE and read my blog post on the month of May and God's presence in our lives.

And don't forget to sign up to win GENERATION G as posted below. The drawing is tomorrow morning!! (Thursday)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Generation G!

I met Marty Norman through Shoutlife, and I couldn't wait to read this book after speaking with her. As the new mother of a child, and with my child being the first grandbaby to my parents, I was immediately interested. I plan to let my mother borrow my copy of this novel to get fresh new insight too (even though she's already a great Nana!) =)
This handbook is published through Thomas Nelson, and guess what? I'm doing a giveaway!
Here's the product description:
Advice from the heart of a rather hip and savvy Baby Boomer grandmother offers insight for grandmothering in the twenty-first century.

The rules for grandmothers have changed. The new silver generation is savvy and sophisticated-managing businesses, working out with a personal trainer, and traveling to exotic locations. But what about their care and nurturing of the next generation? How can they stay connected and leave a legacy, cheerleading and hand-holding those who come behind?

This handbook provides encouragement for grandmothers with the real issues they face today. Seven sections of essays challenge grandmothers to become healers, peacemakers, repairers of the breach in families, and to celebrate life transitions and aging. Topics, both humorous and serious, range from the importance of choosing a name, waiting at the hospital, and getting wrinkles to blended families, step-grandparenting, in-laws, boundaries, and dying. Generation G will inspire grandmothers to realize their calling is great and their gift, of themselves, essential.
To read more about Marty, visit her HERE. You can purchase this fun guide to grandmothering HERE. Or, sign up to win a free copy by leaving a comment to this post about why this book appeals to you.
The drawing will be held Thursday, April 30th.
Hope you win! =)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Melting hearts...


Drip drip drip...



Do you hear that? Its my heart melting. My daughter, 9 months old, has officially started saying Mama.

It's the best feeling in the entire world, hands down. Even the times I know she's just saying it, just talking like she says "ba ba" or "ga ga", its delicious to hear! But other times, like the other night...
I was laying on our bed with my husband and Little Miss was crawling around between us, pulling up on our jeans, just wallowing and drooling and having fun with us. I look over and she crawls toward me, all bull-dog with her arms out to the side, scrambling up me and says "MAMA MA MA MA MA" and I squeal and say "ohhhh that's the sweetest sound I've ever heard in my entire life!"

Hubby, jokingly, says "Well I guess the words 'will you marry me' don't count as the best anymore, huh?"

Then Little Miss changed paths, clambored up on him, and said "da-da-da-da."

He got all mushy and melty and I said "uh huh, so I guess my 'yes' doesn't count much anymore either, huh?" LOL!!

Yep. Little Miss has stolen our hearts, and guess what? We don't mind a bit. =)

What was a favorite milestone in your son or daughter's life? The moment that really just made you go "ooooohh THIS is what being a mom is all about!!"

Friday, April 24, 2009

New website!

I'm excited! This morning I officially hired a web designer to redo my author site. This blog will stay the same, but will soon be a brand new site!

My current website above I designed myself through Microsoft Publisher. I don't hate it, but its always felt clunky to me and definitely not professional. Now that I'm about to be multi-published through Steeple Hill, I figure its time to bite the bullet, as they say, and hire someone who knows what they're doing! Because I really don't! =)

My new web artist is Jason Walker - husband of good ACFW friend Jenness Walker. His website ministry is HERE you're interested in doing the same one day. He's affordable, highly recommended, and get this - is actually offering an April-only discount for ACFW members!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A dash of salt...

Matthew 5:13-15 (NIV)

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men."

I read this verse in my daily reading today and I saw a "new" perspective I hadn't really caught before.

I've always understood how the salt is a metaphor for Christians to "season" the earth. Its a catchy analogy. But the part that jumped at me today was "if the salt loses its saltiness..."

I take this as referring to Christians who lose their "flavor" - their zest for the Lord. A Christian without passion for God is, in a sense, worthless. Now please take that into context - of course I'm not saying that a human is worthless, God is a Redeemer and can renew anyone, no matter what their past. But work with me here for the sake of this analogy. It's like the next line of the verse "It is no longer good for anything."


Is that a wake up call for you today?

It was for me. I want to be a pleasant flavor to the earth that is so saturated with spoiled "food" - I want to be a dash of hope, light, and joy that can be found only through Jesus. I want to sprinkle that knowledge over the earth!! I hope I am and will continue to do that with my writing.

I like to think of my writing as my screw-on lid - you know, the lid on the salt canister with all the holes. I want my salt to pour through my books and into the world.

Here's another side of the salt shaker to consider. Just as not enough salt is useless, and flavorless salt is useless, so is TOO MUCH SALT a bad thing. Think about it. If that lid slips and dumps too much salt on your meal, its all you taste. It takes over everything and dries out your tongue. Burns any open sores or blisters in your mouth. Closes your throat. It's gross and ruins your meal.

I think as Christians we need to be careful not to oversalt our seeking, searching friends. Too much religion shoved down their throats when they aren't ready is just as bad, if not worse, than not giving them enough.

Whew, lots of deep thoughts for your Thursday!

Sprinkle on, little Canisters for Christ! Let's flavor this world with the perfect balance of hope, joy, peace, grace, light, mercy, forgiveness, and love. Let's show them how Jesus is the Ultimate Chef! His recipes are always spot on.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's Official!

I am the mother of a crawler.

That's right, after weeks of struggling, falling, wiggling, collapsing, straining, pushing, and rocking, my Little Miss took her first REAL steps crawling.

I was soooooo happy I got to see it first! She's been SO close for SO long, we figured one day it would click, and sure enough it did! Yesterday afternoon I was hanging up clothes in my large closet (its really more like a full room) while Little Miss played on the floor. I looked over and there she went! One shaky step, then another, then a third. When I realized it was for real and not another "almost", I called for Hubby to come watch. She did it a few more times for him, then we broke out the video camera to get it on film! She performed great!! Such sweet moments!

This morning, she had a little trouble showing Nana and Papa - only managed one or two small steps, but I know by this afternoon she'll be an avid show-off again =)
Time to baby proof!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Dreaded Synopsis

Since my synopsis is staring me down like its a bull and I'm a waving red flag, I thought I'd temporarily tame (or at least distract!) the beast by sharing my woes! =)

(for any none writers out there, a synopsis is a short summary of your entire novel, in full. No surprises or hooks, like "Will Little Timmy stay in the well forever, or will Lassie save the day once again?" No, this is a detailed summary, generally 3-5 pages, to show the editor point by point how the story goes!)

You've probably heard of writers talking about their "dreaded synopsis". Usually, a synopsis isn't so dreaded for me. I guess because when I write it, it serves as my intial plotting of the novel. I plot the book as I write the synopsis, which works better for me than writing the synopsis after I've written the book. Besides, I am selling by proposal now to my publisher so I HAVE to have the synopsis first as part of the proposal package. So its usually a fun process because I get to see the story unfold as I go.

This time was indeed dreaded, however, because of the details involved in my particular plot. Ever had stories like that? You have the idea in concept, think its going to be clear cut and simple, but then as you start charting it out, little tentacles begin spreading and weaving sticky arms around new problems and new issues to address. The more you fix, the more new tentacles sprout.

The end result is usually (hopefully!?) a deeper, layered, flawless plot. But fighting those tentacles...

Well now I've realized I've used both an octopus and a bull as metaphors for my synopsis. Can you tell I am ready to get past this stage? lol

To make matters worse, the dreaded synopsis I thought was done is now in need of mild revisions that have created new legs. Tentacles. Horns. Whatever. In other words, I'm not done yet afterall! Sigh. Must finish today before the beast overtakes me!

What about you? Is your synopsis always dreaded? Do you have a new method to share of how to deal? What animal do you fight? =)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ode to Starbucks

Ode to Starbucks

Starbucks, my Starbucks, you make my day right!
Waking with you ends the dreary night.
Mocha, sweet mocha, my early morning fuel
White chocolate heaven, I think I might drool!
Starbucks, my Starbucks, so well worth the cost
Without you, my sweet, all would be lost.
Grande latte, oh bliss! What utter delight!
I don't even care that you make my pants tight!

Err....Is it obvious I had a white chocolate mocha this morning? =)

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Flickering Light - by Jane Kirkpatrick

I have to admit, this novel surprised me! I've only recently in the last two years or so gotten interested in historicals - and this one went places many don't!

If you're looking for a good read (not to be confused with a light read! This book is heavy at times and in some chapters even a little hard to get through because of that, but the story does have a very satisfactory ending. Besides, its a series, so there is even more hope!) you will love this novel.

And guess what? Its based on a TRUE story of a woman photographer - the author's own grandmother! What a great twist!

From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review.

Historical novelist Kirkpatrick (A Tendering in the Storm) is exceptionally authentic in her use of early 20th-century history. Virtually all the characters are real figures; protagonist Jessie Ann Gaebele is inspired in this biographical fiction by the writer's own grandmother. Jessie Ann loves photography, and when she is hired as an assistant to photographer F.J. Bauer, she learns about the field of her dreams and also about herself, as she finds herself attracted to her married boss, who battles his own feelings in return. Kirkpatrick renders the war among desire, duty and restraint with exquisite nuance. There are no unsympathetic characters in this tangle of relationships. Bauer's wife—also named Jessie—may be difficult to live with, but she has her reasons. The period detail—dangerous chemicals used in photography, debilitating and frequent illnesses, the routine constraints on women's choices—offers a compelling portrait of the time. Kirkpatrick deserves a wide audience for this coming-of-age tale that is aching and hopeful.

You can see more about Jane and her novels HERE and buy this novel through Amazon HERE!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Time to celebrate!

I'm Snoopy dancing today!

I found out earlier this week that my agent, Tamela Hancock Murray of Hartline Literary Agency, sold another novel of mine to Steeple Hill Love Inspired.

TO LASSO LOVE (working title) will be my third book with Steeple Hill Love Inspired and will be out sometime in 2010. (release date to come!)

RETURN TO LOVE, about a penguin keeper working at the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans and falling in love with her former rock star, childhood best friend, will release in stores July 1st.

It's sequel, A VALENTINE'S WISH, about a woman receiving gifts from a Secret Admirer while working in an chocolate boutique in the French Quarter (Is the Secret Admirer her youth pastor best friend? The handsome Italian baker? Or her ex fiance?) will release in stores February 2010.

Dance with me, will you? =)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

All the colors of the rainbow...

I found a fun quiz this morning! Seems fitting for the changing of seasons as colors spring all around us. Let me know your answers! =)

My answer below: (seems pretty dead-on!)

You Color Your Life With Intense Warmth

You are a down to earth, stable person.
You can be relied on.
You enjoy the outdoors.
There's something about being in nature that makes you feel really blissful.
While you are responsible, you aren't boring.
You have a lot of flair and style.
You enjoy creative projects of all sorts.
You're a very visual person.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Elevator Etiquette

What is it about elevators that makes people turn slightly dumb, incredibly impatient, and borderline annoying?

I work on the 20th floor of my office building. I ride up and down at least twice each day (have to get the office mail every mid-morning), five days a week, sometimes three if I leave and come back for lunch. To average, let's say I ride in an elevator, 20 floors up or down, 23 times a week.

That's 92 rides a month.

1104 times a year.

1104 times a year = me officially allowed to have this vent =)

Fact #1. The elevator will NOT come sooner no matter how many times you hit the button. You know these people, have probably been one yourself at one point or another (I know I have before despite my own instincts to kick myself after), the people who stand there and press the button over and over, even though its obviously already lit up.

Fact #2. Awkward silences in elevators are actually harder to deal with than the other riders simply continuing their hushed small talk conversation they were having as they got on. Why do people think that just because they enter a moving box they have to immediately hush? Its awkward. Uncomfortable. Makes a 20 floor ride even longer! Just finish your conversation, people! (see Fact #3 for the exceptions)

Fact #3. It's simply WRONG to discuss any of the following topics inside an elevator: gross sinus descriptions, bathroom humor, anything sexual, anything with coarse language, and anything involving feminine products/issues. I've seen women talk openly (and loudly) about their physical issues on an elevator with men - strangers to them! - turning red and trying to blend into the wall. Its just wrong.

Fact #4. Awkward silences are bad, but forced small talk is worse. Please don't make obvious comments to me like "It's Monday" or "It's Friday" or "It's raining out there." I've done this before too, again, kicking myself as the words left my lips. Why do we feel the need to point out the obvious inside an elevator? Are we so desperate to avoid Fact #2 that we say anything, even if its completely irrelevant? OH wait, I have a new "worse" - when you're carrying a lunch box, breakfast tray, breakfast sack, Coke can, coffee cup, etc. and a complete stranger grins goofy and asks "where's mine" or "did you bring some for me?" NO I did not bring any for you, I don't even know you, so take your briefcase carrying hands and back off my donut!

Acceptable elevator small talk: compliments on shoes, purses, outfits, whatever (just be careful if its gender-opposite!), "how are you" type questions (only if sincere!), work related questions if you are familiar with the company where the other rider is heading, inquiries about a book a rider is holding, etc.

What are your elevator pet peeves? Any advice or vents for a 20th floor rider like myself?? =)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Extravaganza!!

What a busy weekend! I took off work Thursday and we were off Friday anyway for the holiday, so I had a nice looooong family weekend. My husband worked part of it but we still enjoyed Easter Sunday together. There were lunches at both grandparents house, a family egg hunt, a crawfish boil at a friend's house, church services, a church egg "pickup" in the gym since the weather turned bad (no hunting Sunday!), and Easter baskets galore - all in a two day period.

Whew! I think my Little Miss is as exhausted as I am. I already drank a mocho on the way to work today and my bottom eyelid is still somewhat swollen from sleep.

Highlights of the weekend:

My husband lowering my daughter inches above the floor in the church gym so she could scoop up shiny plastic eggs on her own.

Feeding Little Miss her first bites of real ham.

Napping on my grandma's guest bed with Little Miss, all snuggled up together with blankets and stuffed animals.

An excellent Sunday school video (Strobel's "THE CASE FOR CHRIST")

Seeing good friends over the weekend that we hadn't seen in a long time!

Visiting with hubby and feeling sooooo thankful he was actually off on a holiday!

My mom's famous iced "holiday" cookies! (and watching Little Miss suck on few bites for the first time! haha)

Praising Jesus for the miracle of the resurrection!

Putting together Little Miss' Easter basket Saturday night after she was in bed - a stuffed rabbit, plastic eggs filled with Gerber Puffs, a new Learning Purse by Fisher Price, a new summer outfit, and an Elmo bath toy.

Did everyone else have a glorious Easter? Share your favorite moments! (and pass the coffee!)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!

He is risen...He is risen indeed!
Don't forget to praise God today and tomorrow, in the midst of your egg hunts and mouth stuffin', for the miracle of the resurrection. =)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Long weekend!

I'm off today and tomorrow for a long weekend with my family!! We're going to do some shopping for our family vacation next month, and of course make Little Miss' Easter basket! =)

Hope everyone has a lovely Easter and I'll be back soon!!


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Working out at work - not exactly!

I saw an article on MSN news today about ab exercises at work. I was SO excited, thinking it was going to reveal some new way to get fit from an office chair. Definitely up my ally! I sit behind a desk for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and its only through severely counting calories and doing as much as I can at home in the evenings with hand weights and crunches that I stay the size I am. I eagerly opened the article, ready to embrace these new tricks....

No such luck! It was talking about plank and core exercises. The instructions began "get on all fours"... and I stopped there. Apparently the author of this piece has never actually worked in an office! Hello! It's not exactly professional for me to drop to my stomach behind my receptionist's desk in a skirt and heels and start doing pushups. Sheesh.

So much for that!

In other news, I blogged today at CRAFTIE LADIES OF ROMANCE on Easter. Come visit me and see a fun new picture of my daughter with some easter eggs =)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Ode To a Giraffe

I love my new shoes so much I have to blog on them. =)

I got these puppies from Payless over the weekend with some birthday money, and of course, had to spring for the matching purse.

Happy 25th to me!

I am wearing them all today with a red top and a tiered brown skirt. I feel like maybe I should be in the zoo... hehe. Giraffe crossing!
What are your favorite accesories for Spring?
Disclaimer: No actual giraffes were harmed in the making of these products!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Shout out!

On behalf of my eight-month old daughter, I must give a shout out this morning to country star Taylor Swift, who won album of the year last night at the 2009 Country Music Awards. You could still she was SHOCKED, beating out Montgomery Gentry, Carrie Underwood and other big names.

Here's a quote during her acceptance speech, which I thought was adorable.

"I think a lot of people who know me know that if I talk to you for more than five minutes, I'm probably going to write a song about you, so that being said I'd like to thank all the characters in my songs: Abigail, Hey Stephen, Tim McGraw and Romeo."

Taylor Swift is one of my daughter's favorite singers. How could I possibly know this when she's not quite 9 months old? =) Easy! Every time I play Taylor's CD in her room, she dances with me. Grins really big. Throws her arm in the air while I spin her around. She'll look up when she hears Taylor's voice on TV or radio, and will spend 15 straight minutes watching Taylor videos on youtube.

Last night, we were watching the awards, and as soon as Taylor come on the screen, she started kicking, grinning, and waving. Yes, waving, at Ms. Swift. Too precious! =)

So on behalf of Audrey and Taylor-fans everywhere, congratulations! You deserve it, girl!

PS - Taylor also won an award she wasn't even aware of, the Crystal Milestone! This award was given to her by host Reba, who called a confused, stricken Taylor over to center stage after Taylor's performance, and said "You ain't done, yet." haha. Rebba then handed the beautiful trophy to Taylor and said it was for bringing a new crowd of fans to the country music world, and for her huge success at such a young age. Go Taylor!!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Book giveaway winner, and a personal celebration...

I know I'm supposed to be annoucing the winner of SURRENDER BAY, but I have to first share a personal celebration!

As of this morning, I am officially back in my Ann Taylor Loft jeans that I had given up on months ago. Even as I was losing weight (thanks to months of counting calories!) I kept trying them on and figured that after having my daughter, my hips were just not going to go back the way they were. I know that happens sometimes and, well, its a very small price to pay for my Little Miss. =)

I had given up on these jeans back in February and yet for some odd reason today, decided to try them on again. I'm a sucker.

BUT......they FIT! And they're not even tight! Woohoo!! I'm not sure what happened but I'll certainly take it!

Okay, and now for the winner of SURRENDER BAY...


















~ ALLISON!!! ~


Please email me at with your mailing address and I'll get this book to you next week.

Thanks for playing and sharing your favorite vacation spots. They sound lovely. Please check back soon for more giveaways of FREE BOOKS!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

You know you're a mommy when...

You know you're a mommy, a right-handed woman of 24 years, suddenly become ambidextrous and can perform a myriad of tasks with your left hand, including eating soup.

You know you're a mommy take your child to the zoo and carry your baby while pushing the empty stroller.

You know you're a mommy'll put off going to the bathroom or other pressing personal needs because your baby just fell asleep on your shoulder and you refuse to lose such a precious moment.

You know you're a mommy, a woman with a ridiculously easy gag reflex, get baby poop on your hand and you don't even think its gross.

You know you're a mommy learn how to sneeze with complete silence so as not to wake your sleeping child.

You know you're a mommy can go an entire day without food and not even notice because you're worried about why your daughter isn't eating.

You know you're a mommy, a recognized shopaholic and addict of clothes/shoes/purses, get more excited about shopping for your daughter and even spend your own birthday money on her.

You know you're a mommy love more than you ever imagined possible.

Any mommies out there have any more "you know whens" to add? =)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

ANOTHER book giveaway!

I must be feeling generous. =)

Today I'm giving away a free copy of Denise Hunter's SURRENDER BAY. It's the first in her Nantucket series, and oh my, oh my - what an amazing story of friendship, love, and forgiveness. With a slight allegorical theme, this is one you don't want to miss!

(I'm giving away my extra copy, not my original. This is one I'll read again!)

Leave a comment to this post, telling me about your favorite vacation spot, and I'll do the drawing on Friday! Sign up NOW!
Here's an blip from the book, straight from Denise's website (HERE)

Surrender Bay - A Nantucket Love Story

Chapter One

"You can just drop me off, you know. I'm not a baby." Eleven-year-old Caden flipped her mom a look, then stared out the passenger window.

"I like watching you." Sam pulled the Ciera into the parking lot of the Boston Academy of Gymnastics and was about to expound on the thought, but Caden interrupted.

"The other moms don't stay."

It wasn't true, but Sam had a feeling this objection had less to do with Caden's assertion of independence and more to do with her.

"Did Bridget tell everyone about me?" Sam asked.

Caden crossed her arms, her warm-up suit rustling.

"If I didn't clean the gym, we wouldn't be able to afford lessons, Caden."

Though her daughter frowned, her jaw and shoulders rigid, Sam knew the stubborn front concealed a wounded little girl. Knew it because Caden was so much like her.

"They all know now. Bridget has such a big mouth. She thinks she's so hot just because her mom owns the gym."

Sam turned off the ignition and withdrew the keys, then glanced at Caden, who made no move to leave. The clock on the dashboard read 7:02. "Honey, let's finish this later. You're late for class."
"So you're staying?"

Sam's parental pride shrank two more sizes. "By the time I got home, I'd just have to turn around and come back. I promise to sit in the back and keep my hood up to conceal my identity." Sam regretted the sarcasm instantly.

Caden discharged her seat belt, and it sprang upward, clanging against the door frame. "Whatever," she said, then exited the car, not quite slamming the door.

Sam grabbed the day's mail from the dashboard and tucked it in her purse. As she entered the gym, the familiar odor of sweaty little gymnasts assaulted her nostrils. She walked past the office and up the stairs to the balcony, where she found a seat in the back row. She smiled at a woman seated there, the mom of one of Caden's classmates. From her pantsuit and trendy heels, Sam guessed she didn't scrub bathrooms for a living or work a side job to afford her daughter's lessons.

On the floor below, a maze of mats and apparatus were spread across the blue carpet. Caden's class stretched, their legs straddled, leaning forward until their bellies touched the ground. Her daughter lay there, head resting against the carpet. The girl next to Caden whispered something to another girl and they laughed. Sam assumed the worst, and she wanted to give the girl's ear a swift tug.

Instead, she settled back into the chair and pulled the mail from her bag. Electric bill. Bank statement. Credit card bill. She'd open that one last. No sense ruining a perfectly good day. The last piece was addressed to her with a black pen. In the upper left-hand corner was a sticker with Miss Biddle's name and address.

Strange. Beyond the annual Christmas card, she rarely heard from Miss Biddle. And even when she did, she almost didn't want to open the envelope--as if doing so would open a door from her past she'd rather leave closed.

Curious, she turned the letter over and slid her finger under the flap. She withdrew a piece of notebook paper neatly creased in thirds. She unfolded the note.

Dear Samantha,

I hope this letter finds you well. I would have preferred to call, but the number you're listed as having is disconnected. I'm afraid I have some bad news.

Just yesterday your stepfather had a heart attack at work. They tried to take him to the hospital, but he passed away in the ambulance and they were unable to resuscitate him. I know there was no love lost between the two of you, but still I hated to tell you this way.

A strange feeling swept over Sam like an unexpected wind on a still night. There was no sadness or grief, but rather an unexplained dread.

I contacted Judge Winslow (from the probate court), who will be handling Emmett's estate, and I learned Emmett had no will. Since you are his adopted child, and the only living relative, his cottage and belongings will pass to you. You might contact Judge Winslow down at the Town and County building. I'm sure they'll send you notification soon, but I thought it might be better to hear the news from me.

Sam stared at the letter, but the words blurred as her thoughts scrambled. Excitement overtook the dread. The cottage sat on the valuable Nantucket shore and was worth a fortune. It was small and old, but even the smallest shanty on the island neared a million dollars.

The thought of what she and Caden could do with that kind of money stirred something she hadn't felt in a long time.


She finished the letter, skimming over the funeral information.

A million dollars. She could pay off her credit cards, get out of their crummy apartment, buy Caden some decent clothes, pay for gymnastic lessons. Heck, she could send Caden to a private school if she wanted. And college. Caden could become anything she wanted to be.

Even Sam could go to college. It was a thought she hadn't allowed since she got pregnant with Caden. Even now, she tamped down the thought, too afraid to hope in case this was all a dream.
But the flimsy white paper in her hands was real enough. Emmett's name scrawled in black sobered her. Memories raced through her mind at the speed of light, none of them good. The feeling of being trapped, overpowered, and abandoned all at the same time made her squirm in her chair as if to make sure she wasn't restrained.

The realization that she would have to go back there stole her breath and jarred her mind to a sudden halt. The house would have to be cleaned out. Furniture and personal belongings would have to be sorted through. The cottage would need to be readied for sale. The flower beds, if they still existed, would need tending.

How long would it take, and would Patty let her off work that long? Sam hadn't had a vacation or sick day in--well, she couldn't even remember. They'd just lost an office building to Murphy's Maids the week before, so the schedule was lighter, and Gina had been asking for extra hours.
Still, the thought of going back to the island made Sam's soul shrivel like a sun-scorched bloom. There was a reason she hadn't gone back. A reason she'd left in the first place, and nothing had changed.

Except that going back was now worth a million dollars.

Sam lifted her eyes from the letter and found Caden's class across the gym at the foam pit. Caden sprang forward into a round-off and two back handsprings, then finished with a backflip into the foam squares. The spotter never touched her. It was her first unassisted backflip. When she came out of the pit, she looked toward the balcony to see if Sam had caught the moment. Before she could give her daughter a thumbs-up, Caden looked away. When she walked by Bridget and her new cronies, they turned, an obvious snub.

Sam wanted to thump them all. They were doing it because of her, and the guilt that descended on her was as heavy as a lead blanket.

Could a million dollars buy her and Caden a new life? Sam was suddenly sure it could. And she was equally sure she could face any demon from her past for the chance to make it happen.