It’s great to be back from a busy summer. What did you do to pass the days? Work? Play? Travel? One thing I look forward to each summer is vacationing by the sea, where we can walk on the beach, lounge by the pool, and take a day trip or two. Oh, and eat. A lot. Of seafood. 🙂
It was also the perfect time to indulge in the TBR pile. I’ll post here in coming weeks some SPS titles, but the first mention goes to Sara Walter Ellwood’s GAMBLING ON A SECRET. I absolutely loved this sexy contemporary western romance with an ex-military hero, a spirited heroine with a secret, and enough compelling emotion to keep the pages turning. I can’t wait to start the second book in this series!
And now for today’s peek. This is the first excerpt from ALWAYS, a book that departs a bit from my usual M.O. It’s a small town, friends-to-lovers romance set in post Civil War Pennsylvania.
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, June 1865
After four war-torn years away, Emily Winters returns to her home town determined to face down old rumors and do whatever it takes to resurrect her late father’s printing business. Unfortunately, what it will take is help from Ross Gallagher, the only man she’s ever loved and the last man she wants to turn to.
Ross has survived the war and returned to rebuild the life he left behind. He’s a successful reporter and set to marry his boss’s daughter. Until Emily steps off the train. Ross made a promise to Emily when they were children. It’s a promise he means to keep, but Emily guards a secret that stands between them.
In today’s peek, Emily has just arrived from Baltimore. It’s taken the news of her father’s death to bring her home. As she walks through town, she’s stung when she comes face to face with the cold reality of her loss. Her father’s weekly newspaper and print shop is shuttered. A “For Rent” sign appears in the window.
What Emily doesn’t expect when she stops to peer through the window of the deserted shop is to hear a familiar voice speak up from behind. It’s a voice she never thought she’d hear again…
Her hands fell to her sides, her heart skipped a dreadful beat. She recognized that voice, but of course, it couldn’t be him. Her imagination was playing cruel tricks. She’d been nervous about returning home, and naturally she’d been thinking of him, and—
“Emily Winters! I’ll be damned! It is you, isn’t it?”
Emily didn’t turn around. She couldn’t. Her disbelieving gaze fixed on a blurred image in the window glass, the reflection of a young man standing behind her on the street. It couldn’t be… She forced herself to turn, slowly, as if in a dream, half expecting him not to be there, half expecting that the hazy, distorted image in the glass was the whole of him, the essence of a ghost long since dead.
But he was there. He had changed over the years. Gone was the boy she had known. His youthful features had been replaced by the rugged, hard-angled face of a man. And those shadows beneath his eyes. Could they be testimony to the suffering and tragedy he had witnessed in war?
“Emily! How long has it been?” He looked at her, too, as if she were some sort of mirage, as if he could scarcely believe his eyes.
There’s a very good reason Emily is stunned to find her childhood best friend, Ross Gallagher, standing before her alive and well. Can you guess what it is?
For more sneak peeks, hop on over to SNEAK PEEK SUNDAY HERE!