Nan Reinhardt, Author

Grown-up love stories, because we're never too old for a little sexy romance…

Lent Check-In . . . I’m Still Here

March18

breatheWow, I’d sure like to say that I’ve been hugely successful at unknotting the knot, which was my Lenten goal, but sadly, I’m not quite there yet. But, I can say that I’m trying, I’m releasing stuff, just not everything. But in an attempt to let go of the body issue worries, I’ve scheduled the CT scan and Can’t wait for it to be done, so that the doc can tell me, “Kid, you have diverticulitis, welcome to aging, and pay attention to your diet.”

One thing I have learned about the diverticulitis thing is that everyone is different. Some folks can eat whatever they want, some can’t. I’m being pretty cautious right now because I’ve had two exacerbations in less than six months. That’s too many because, a. it’s painful as hell and b. you have to take a wicked combination of antibiotics when it kicks up and I’m just not interested in doing that again. I’m learning what I can and can’t eat and I see that as progress. The knee is holding on right now. Yeah, it hurts frequently, but if I get to the pool at least three times a week, it does better and if I get to the chiropractor regularly, that helps it, too. I’ve been telling it that it needs to hang on a couple more years. We’ll see if it listens.

I’m writing! That might be the biggest news from the home front. It’s been a long time since I’ve actually moved forward on a book. At the moment, I’m focused on Libby and Nick–the fourth Women of Willow Bay story, but there are a couple of other books banging around in my brain. I’m making notes and thinking . . . a huge step in the right direction. Mostly, I’m trying not to concentrate so much on the selling/promotion side of the writing. That only brings me down. Instead, I’m just going to write and see where I am in the fall.

Reinhardt_Poster_resizedThat being said, I am doing a book signing at Spring Fling in Chicago in May, which has forced me to think about some promotional stuff. Spring Fling is a great big fun event. Pal, Liz Flaherty, and I went in 2014 and we had a ball! Lots of hobnobbing with other writers, fun learning times at workshops, and an amazing time just being with my dear friend. We travel so well together–we’re kind of on the same wavelength about traveling and that’s terrific! I’m looking forward to it. It’s the biggest book signing I’ve ever participated in, so I confess I’m a little bit nervous. But it’s going to be good. That’s my table poster over there on the left–isn’t it great? Thanks to the amazing Lani Diane Rich for the design! I’m crazy about it!

So gratitude for today: The gym pool–I’m free when I’m in the water. A great St. Patrick’s Day supper with PJ and her husband, Larry. Good food, good wine, good fellowship. Our Lenten Bible Study class on Wednesdays through Lent. We’re both enjoying talking about faith and also getting to know some of the folks in our church. It’s a good thing. We got a start on the spring yard work—I actually enjoyed three hours of digging in the dirt, which amazes me because I would almost rather have my gums scraped than do yard work. Each time I’ve talked to Son lately, he’s been good—not always jumping for joy, but reasonably content, happy with life, feeling productive, and breathing. So grateful to God for answered prayer!

Lent Check-In

March5

It’s been several days since my last check in, which is okay because I’m consciously not stressing about not blogging regularly. It’s a knot thing, you know? But here I am, reporting in.

We saw the doc on Wednesday–I really, really like her. She’s very reassuring without dismissing my fears and anxiety. She agrees it might be time to take a look inside me and verify that we are dealing with diverticulitis and how severe it is. Apparently there are other things we can do for it from different antibiotics that don’t wreck me all the way to having surgery to remove the offending portion of intestine. Hopefully, we won’t be looking at that, but I’m glad to be getting the scan to make sure there isn’t something more severe than diverticulitis going on. Her office is verifying with the insurance company and then we’ll schedule it. The knot has loosened slightly just knowing that we’re checking it out.

Today, we went to a funeral for the mother of one of our lake pals. His mom was 90 and had a good long life and had become quite ill, so her passing wasn’t a terrible tragedy except that she’s gone and there’s a hole where she lived in his heart. I know he’ll miss her and I wish so much he didn’t have to have that sorrow in his life. But it’s part of life, right? One of BFFs lost her mother-in-law this week too–another sorrow for another dear friend. This morning, we made a list of the people who’ve died in the last eighteen months. There were twenty! Twenty people I knew or who were related to someone I am close to are gone. That feels like a lot in a short time. Maybe it’s not . . . thoughts, anyone?

On the gratitude side, we’ve been reading our Lenten devotional each morning and enjoying our time together studying and praying. We’re using a study help that the pastor gave us–three questions to ask about our scripture reading. What does the scripture say? What does the scripture say to me? What does God want me to hear? Sometimes the answer to a couple of those questions is the same, you know? But we’re delving into the ways we share our faith and how we came to our faith, so it’s pretty interesting.

IMG955540Five things I’m grateful for right this minute: We got to see some of our lake pals, and even though it was for a funeral, it was so very good to get hugs and see them. I’m working on a couple of great books right now–one for a pub, one for an indie author–good stories, which is always a pleasure. We had a date last night–dinner and a movie, then we stopped and bought a bottle of pinot noir and enjoyed a glass together as we “camped out” in the lake cottage. we’re not officially open yet, so no running water because it’s still winterized, but we stayed there overnight anyway on our way to the funeral. We had heat and a warm bed and wine and each other, so no complaints. On the way home today, I wrote vigorously in my head on the new story and now I’m getting ready to work on it now. YAY! DIL sent Grandboy’s preschool pictures for us to pick from. Damn that kid is so cute . . .

So, the knot is ever-present, but relaxing some and to me, that feels like Lenten success at this point. Easter is about three weeks away and although, I don’t expect it to be gone by then, but I hope it will be looser, smaller . . . that would be nice.

Welcome A.D. Ellis

March4

What fun it is to celebrate book releases with Indiana Romance Writers of America chapter mates! I’m so excited today to introduce my readers to A.D. Ellis–a fellow contemporary romance author and a friend from IRWA.

ADELLISA.D. spends the majority of her days loving and wrangling two school-aged children, a husband, and a Yorkie with a stubborn streak a mile wide before heading to the inner city of Indiana to teach a challenging group of alternative education students in grades third through sixth. Most days she hits the gym after school in hopes of running and lifting away the stress and headaches of the day before picking up her children and squeezing a whole day’s worth of loving and living into the too-short hours before bed. It’s no wonder Ms. Ellis lives for the slower, easier days she gets to enjoy on breaks from school.

Growing up in a small farming town in southern Indiana, A.D. is grateful to her mother for passing along the love of reading. With her nose constantly stuck in a book, she became accustomed to friends and acquaintances snickering and shaking their heads at her love of reading.

A.D. never dreamed of being anything but a teacher, although there are certain times of the year when she laments her career choice. She had a story idea floating in her head for about a year. After persistent prodding from a friend, A.D. put pen to paper and began writing her first story in October 2013. From that moment on, she was hooked. Taking the people and stories from her head and sharing them with readers is a scary, exhausting, rewarding, and fulfilling experience which A.D. plans to continue until there are no more stories banging around in her mind.

Kendrick teaser 1Her newest book, Kendrick: Torey Hope, the Later Years takes us back to the fictional town of Torey Hope, where spunky and independent Jay Keller only wants to have fun, having long ago decided that love is reserved for people living fairy tale lives.

Kendrick Jordan is a sarcastic, inappropriate smartass, whose sense of humor, intense love of family, and serial dating habits enable him to mask his painful past.

Through a chance encounter, Jay gives Kendrick a chance to satisfy his curiosity with no strings attached. But when Kendrick’s past catches up with him and Jay is dealt a life-altering blow, they find themselves turning to each other for support.

After a traumatic accident threatens their new-found love, Jay and Kendrick must decide if their relationship is worth the terrifying and painful journey they now face.**

 

Purchase links:

Amazon getbook.at/KendrickAmzn

iBooks bit.ly/KendrickiBooks

Kobo bit.ly/KendrickKobo

**Kendrick and Jay’s story is meant for ages 18+ due to adult themes, language, and situations. Sensitive readers should be warned of possible triggers in the storyline.**

posted under books in print, Writer's moments | Comments Off on Welcome A.D. Ellis

More Days Later

February28

. . . I don’t want to count them and besides, getting particular about this kind of stuff does nothing at all for the knot in my stomach, so let’s just say, here I am again, checking in.

worrier yogaLife goes along . . . we’re enjoying some lovely spring-like days in February, which probably means March will be a nasty bear, but maybe not. Sometimes we just get a soft winter and an easy spring that slides right into lovely summer days. We got some outside stuff done and I’m still working quite a bit on editing gigs. We’re enjoying Wednesday Lenten Study at church and sad that Downton Abbey is ending. Yeah, we’re those kind of PBS freaks–what can I say? Son and DIL and Grandboy seem to be fine at the moment. I pray for them daily that their lives will be smooth and free of chaos and drama. Not always possible, but when it comes, I have faith they will handle whatever happens together.

My body is my big issue right now–the weight is coming off pretty well and I’m so happy about that, but my diverticulitis kicked up again and the antibiotics are playing havoc with my insides. I’ve decided to go ahead and have the CAT scan when this exacerbation is over because it will help me unknot–always a good thing. I’m spending way too much time worrying over whether this is something worse than mere diverticulitis. I want to know if there’s anything else going wrong in there or if the diverticulitis might need something more than antibiotics. I confess it’s taken me too long to come to this decision–asking for a CAT scan–but there is that part of me that doesn’t want to know. Fear that they will find something awful like they did with Kate and Dee makes me pretty much terrified, but on the other hand, not knowing that all is well is keeping the knot active and thrumming inside me. So . . . calling the doc tomorrow morning and getting things rolling.

howard arthritisThen there’s the knee–crap, crap, crap, the knee. I know it’s arthritis and I know I probably need to have the damn joint replaced, but holy snikeys, I want to wait a little bit longer. Everyone I know who’s had knee replacement has been overjoyed at the result, so what is my problem here? Well, money, first of all. My health insurance deductible is pretty high and I’d have to cough up a big buttload of cash up front. And I’m not at all sure I’m prepared at this point in time to deal with the surgery/healing/recuperation thing right now. It’s seemed as though I’ve wandered from crisis to crisis in the last couple of years and I’d really love a whole summer of no worry. On the other hand (there’s always an other hand, right?), do I want to spend another year dealing with the pain I’m in now? Hmmmm . . .

All in all, I’m good. I am. And I’m grateful for plenty of work, medical science, Husband, who is so dear and loving, for Son, Grandboy and DIL, for the Lenten Study, for Allisonville Christian Church,  and for the sunshine we’re enjoying today.

Days 5 Through 10

February20

I know, I know . . . I could be a better blogger. Actually, I could do a lot of stuff better. However in the spirit of knot-dissolving, I’m not going to list them here. Instead I’m going to talk very briefly about how the knot is getting smaller and why.

First of all, I got a lovely note from sister PJ telling me not to worry about the African violets, just water them and they’ll be fine. I’m trusting her on that one–they are her plants after all. Plus, it occurred to me that if I kill them, I can always buy her new ones, so no need to stress.

WOWB setBook sales are doing okay and I’ve got two more editing gigs lined up and others on the horizon, so for now, the career is mostly in balance. I did send another submission to BookBub after they turned down my last one. I’m holding out hope that they’ll accept this one and maybe SEX AND THE WIDOW MILES will hit a list, like USA Today. How fun would that be? I don’t have a knot in my stomach over this one because I know how hard it is to get accepted to BookBub, so if I do, it’ll be great and if I don’t, I’ll try again. FYI, if you’re not a subscriber to BookBub, go sign up. It’s a great site for readers and authors. Lots of great books and you’ll discover new authors there (maybe even including me!).

A health issue is kind of rearing its ugly little head, but I caught this exacerbation early and I’m hoping that the wicked strong antibiotics that the doc put me on will knock out the diverticulitis and this will be the last one I have to deal with for a very long time. Forever would be nice. This stuff is painful and the drugs you have to take for it tear you up. I’m trying hard to learn to eat correctly–lots of fiber, mostly is the key and probiotics. But here’s the knot thing about this stuff–sister Kate’s first sign of having cancer was a localized pain in her abdomen–well, that and extreme fatigue. So when this crap kicks up, my first thought is, of course, cancer! Even though I know it’s the stupid diverticulitis. Even though the antibiotics fixed it last time . . . Nan, the doc’s got this one. Do as you’re told and chill.

sparkling waterStill have dear friends dealing with sick parents, so prayers and healing light are how I’m working on those. Yesterday, we cleaned up our woodpile and split the rest of the wood we have left. Felt good to be outside, exercising, and doing something productive. We went up to the lake today and checked on the cottage. It was a gorgeous day and we walked down to the water and looked at the ice-covered bay. Beautiful, even with a skim of ice on it. We’re both ready for spring! It’s amazing how calming it is to be up there. Life is still happening–people are still sick, health insurance is still expensive, I still have to market both my books and my editing skills, Son, DIL, and Grandboy will always be at the forefront of my mom-worry, and friends are still having issues, but somehow, the lake makes it all okay.

Gratitude for this past week: DIL got home safely from Spain; Son is getting healthier every day; we had a great time at the Lent small group study–enjoyed getting to know people at church better; it’s been warm and sunny for a couple of days and we’ve basked in it; and our morning devotions/study are pretty interesting and spirit-lifting.

Life is good.

Days 3 and 4

February14

So, I never promised I’d blog every day, now did I?  As it happens, I did some serious worrying on Friday night, but I talked it out with Husband and it got better–imagine that. Yesterday was the monthly IRWA meeting, which was fun and enlightening and just plain enjoyable. I loved seeing all my romance writing buddies, getting to know a couple of them a little better, and having pizza after the meeting. A big question about my job in the organization (which, yes I had tucked into the knot in my stomach because . . . well . . .it’s me) got resolved in a very good way, so all in all, yesterday counts as a success.

african-violetsI confess to still worrying a tiny bit. I have a couple of friends who are dealing with sick parents, but I’m praying and sending lots of healing, peaceful light to them, so I’m doing all I can do. I’m wondering if I’ll get the job from the potential client I just did a little test for and whether or not I’ll have time to get everything done and still write. I’m hoping I didn’t give PJ’s African violets too much water on Friday and stressing a little about the primaries and who will eventually be running for president and if the little twinge in my abdomen is telling me that my diverticulitis is kicking up again. I’m also worried over DIL flying across the ocean as she heads home to Son and Grandboy. But the good news there is she’s coming home and the three of them will be in each arms again.

So unknot your stomach, Nan. All of above? It’s out of your control entirely. Well, except for maybe the African violet thing. Maybe I’ll read on the Web and see how much they actually need before we go back again . . . hmmmm . . .

Gratitude for today: My friends in IRWA, finished a big project and a good start on another one, today is the ISO‘s Frank Sinatra Centennial Celebration, I can write tonight, and book sales are still doing okay. Life is good.

 

posted under Gratitude, This Life... | Comments Off on Days 3 and 4

Day Two

February12

worry vs peaceIt went pretty well today. Oh, the knot’s still there and yeah, I perseverated over a thing or two, but mostly, a calm day. I finished a big editing gig and yes, okay, I went over it one extra time, but only because this one is for a really, really big-name author and her big-name publisher. I’m looking at that as just being extra careful, not actually worrying. Hey, look, it’s my Lenten sacrifice, so I get to define it, right?

Otherwise, except for crying at dearest PJ’s response to yesterday’s post (gosh, I love my sister!), I handled life today with a peaceful heart and a looser belly. I didn’t overeat and I got to text the debate with Son–always a fun and enlightening experience. I’m still feeling the Bern and so is he, so nothing’s changed, but it was an interesting debate.

IMG_0749Husband went to the grocery store today, which to me is like a delicious, generous gift because I would almost rather have my gums scraped than go to the grocery store. And not only did he do the grocery shopping, he brought me a small package of four fresh, chocolate-covered strawberries for Valentine’s Day. He presented them with a flourish and a sexy kiss and man oh, man, I love this guy! It was exactly the perfect Valentine’s Day treat–not too much, some good fruit and dark and white chocolate. Poifect! Plus, on Sunday, he’s taking me to the symphony for a salute to Frank Sinatra. Have I mentioned that I love this guy?

worrier yogaI think if I’m going to try to blog regularly through Lent, it might be good to include a little bit of gratitude, especially since I sincerely believe that a grateful heart trumps (sorry!) a knotty stomach every time. Today, I’m very grateful for my sister, PJ, and for all my dear friends, in particular Dee, who spent over a half hour on the phone with me this morning, just chatting, and Ava, Judith, and Margie, who all Facebooked me “don’t worry, be happy” memes. One opens this post, the other is just to the left here. Aren’t they great? Thanks, Ladies!

40 Days…

February11

keep-calm-and-live-lent-2I always give up something for Lent–well, I have for the last twenty or twenty-five years anyway. It’s my little stab at doing something and sticking to it for a specified time. I can honestly say that I’ve always succeeded at it, too. If I vowed to give up chocolate or wine or sweets or . . . whatever for forty days, I did it. I think there was a little part of me that worried God would strike me with lightning if I backslid or cheated. I don’t know, but I’ve always been very faithful to my Lenten sacrifice.

However, this year, I wondered what would truly be a sacrifice–I’m already working very hard at eating well, so giving up something like chocolate or wine wouldn’t be all that much of a sacrifice. I make my living on the Internet, so I can’t give that up or social media which, although I wouldn’t mind a break, is also vital to my life as an author. I need to stay connected if I want to stay in front of people as a writer.

I thought and thought about how I’ve spent my energy and where my head has been and what I’ve done in last year and a half, and I realized that a real sacrifice for me would be to give up the knot in my stomach. Crazy? I don’t think so. That knot has been there for months . . . over a year and a half of almost continuous worry.

Worry over son, concern for Grandboy and DIL, grief over sister Kate, and worry about how sister PJ will ever get along without her and whether I can ever be the sister to her that Kate was. Worry over my career, as publishing is going through a sea change and editing gigs have ebbed and flowed. Fear that I’ll never be a decent enough writer to warrant attention from a publisher, and a huge fear that I won’t be able to earn enough as an editor/writer to pay my own health insurance costs. Worry over Husband as he retired and started a new phase of his life–our lives–and wondering how me continuing to work would affect his retirement.

Worry over my friends and the fact that they’re losing their parents and ones who are dear to them. I really want people to quit dying. Worry over my health, worry over Husband’s–we’re fine, but getting older and stuff is starting to creak now and again. Worry over my Dee and her fight with a wicked cancer, Connie and her fight with breast cancer, Di and her fight with breast cancer, and Sheila and her fight with lung cancer (which sadly, she lost last month). Why is there so much cancer and illness in the world? Worry that I’m probably going to have to have knee replacement and what if I have a heart attack or what if Husband does or what if Son’s asthma kicks up again? What if I can’t stop crying if I really let myself wail and howl over Kate dying . . . What if God is disappointed in me because I worry so much and never really let go and let Him handle the worries?

The list is endless and the knot is ever-present–it’s a part of me, always reminding me to worry about . . . something. But this Lenten season, I’m going to make every effort to give up that knot, banish it, dissolve it, make a conscious choice to stop worrying about all these things over which I have no control. To truly let go and let God.

I’m not certain, but I think there’s a chance this might be harder than giving up chocolate . . . however, I’m vowing to try.

Welcome, Liz Flaherty!

January28

IMG_0750   Hey, Nan! Whose turn to drive is it? Mine? But it’s your car, right? Oh, we’re blogging, not doing a girlfriends trip. Okay, here we go. Thanks for having me here, by the way. I brought wine…

Hi! My name’s Liz Flaherty. Nan and I are friends, good ones. We write together, travel together, moan to each other in long poor-me texts we’d never let anyone else see, and travel all over Indiana to have lunch together sometimes when it’s been a while. We are, we say, sisters from different fathers—and mothers. We are kindred spirits.

We sound like the oldest of friends, don’t we?

But we’re not.

I’m not exactly sure how long we’ve been friends—several years now—but in the short list of my BFFs, her name was added last. Doesn’t make its spot any less firm, but the ink is darker.

Which brings me to telling you about Summer in Stringtown Proper, the love story of Molly Linden and Joe Rahilly—the banker from New York City and the carpenter from Stringtown Proper, Kentucky. She’s divorced, he’s widowed, and neither of them is in the market for a relationship. Of any kind. They’re done. They’re fifty and not the least bit interested in starting over again.

But then they meet.

It’s fun to have made such a good friend at Nan’s and my…er…experienced ages. Part of that fun is the unexpectedness of it that comes with differences; the laughter-laced meshing of city and country, my bigger family and her smaller one, and her ability to work at night while my brain says buh-bye after noon.

This is also the fun of writing about protagonists who are grown-up…and then some. Who aren’t in their first rodeo—they’ve loved before and chances are good they’ve loved well. They have kids and grandkids and retirement accounts. They’re probably not all that career-minded anymore and if they are it may very well not be their first career.

They don’t expect to meet anyone who makes them feel “it” again, who they lie in bed and think about, and who gets their blood moving in all kinds of delicious ways. They don’t want to be in love again because they know no matter it comes to an end, it’s going to hurt. It’s going to leave a mark, a big one.

But, like a friendship that happens unexpectedly, falling in love when you’re not looking for it is wonderful. It’s the kind of story I love to tell.

SummerinStringtownProper_Liz FlahertyBlurb:

Banker Molly Linden never expected to be alone and unemployed at fifty. Buying hunky carpenter Joe Rahilly’s saloon takes care of the employment situation, but she’s still alone. Or is she?

Excerpt:

They finished the dishes in silence. When she let the water out of the sink and turned her head to meet his gaze, he was waiting. His hands grasped her forearms gently, pulling her to him. Fitting her into the lines of his body in a way that made her knees shake and the saltines in her stomach swell and flutter.

“You, too,” he said. “You laughed about martinis—you wouldn’t have done that a month ago.”

She wouldn’t have. She’d have resented being teased about what he perceived as snobbery.

“A month?” She looked at the clock on the wall as though it would tell her how long she’d been on the Ridge. “Have I really been here a month?”

“No, actually you’ve been here six weeks. Not that I’m keeping track of you, but Dad said this morning he and Sadie were going out to celebrate their six-weeks anniversary tonight.” He held her closer, and she felt his heartbeat. Strong and steady. “Makes it our anniversary, too, doesn’t it? I held you that day, too. When we danced three times. Remember?”

“I do.” She shrugged, just a little lift of her shoulder. “Sort of. I wasn’t remembering things too well by the time the reception was over.”

He snickered. “Wine from the Ridge got you.”

“It did,” she admitted. “But I remember that I liked dancing with you.” This was flirting. It was fun. In younger days, she’d have thought it was a little dangerous, something that might get in the way of whatever goal she’d set for that particular time. But now, today, it was delicious.

“Me, too. With you, I mean.” He dipped his head to hers, taking her mouth. And keeping it. Teasing at first, then not so much.

He touched her, his hands first on her back, then on her hips. He held her ever closer, but didn’t push. Didn’t demand. Didn’t…oh, God, his mouth was wonderful. Had she ever in her life been kissed like this?

“I don’t remember,” he murmured against her lips. “Are we to second base yet?”

Laughter rippled between them like a musical balm, and she rested her forehead against his shoulder. She had thought she would never trust anyone with her heart again, yet here she was getting ready to…oh, hell, steal second base and hurtle on to third if he was asking.

“Can I take you home?”

She didn’t want to go home, even to the safe haven that was Sadie’s house. She wanted to stay here in his arms, where she felt more alive than she’d felt in…years. God, yes, years.

But life wasn’t that way. Not real life. In real life, her cellphone rang from the table before her, its dirge-like ringtone the one she’d assigned to her mother’s number in a what-the-hell moment.

Buy links:

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/summer-in-stringtown-proper

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-summerinstringtownproper-1964626-177.html

KDP: http://amzn.to/1RTyqSe

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/summer-in-stringtown-proper-liz-flaherty/1123269652?ean=2940157937881

And while you’re out, stop by Word Wranglers and say hello or drop me a line at lizkflaherty@gmail.com

 

I’m Going International!

January26

WOWB setToday ONCE MORE FROM THE TOP is up on BookBub in the UK, Canada, and India. I’m hoping that I get some Women of Willow Bay readers out of this promotion. I’m so bad at promotion, mostly because it hurts my heart to spend money on ads and then not even sell enough books to make back what I’ve spent. That’s happened. Fortunately, not a lot of money, but still . . .  So hold a good thought, mes amies. In the meantime, I’m working on book 4 and having a great time with the newest Women of Willow Bay book.

Here’s a quick excerpt from Libby and Nick’s story:

The last thing Nick Collins expected when he knocked on the door of Nolan Farm Winery was an armful of warm, beautiful woman. He was only trying to find the owner of the lakefront property just south of Willow Bay lighthouse. When he peered in the door of the renovated old barn, all he could see was a huge Christmas tree and racks and racks of shining bottles. But the lights were on and when he tried the door, it was unlocked, although according to the sign, the place didn’t open for another hour and half.

Fact was, he hadn’t even intended to turn down Willow Point Road. But he’d been driving from Muskegon to Traverse City for a residents’ meeting when he noticed the sign for the lighthouse. He loved lighthouses and he’d never been to Willow Point before even though he’d passed the sign at least twenty times. He was always too busy, in a rush to meet with architects or builders or clients. But something made him turn down the road, drive past acres of fir trees and then rows of grapevines, and park in the small lot by the lighthouse.

The lighthouse was closed, but he got out anyway, just for a second, to take a look around. The white-painted brick structure sat on a hill above the rocky shoreline, its red roof contrasting against the blue of the sky, the glass tower gleaming in the morning sun. Shoulders hunched against the stiff breeze off the water, he walked around the building, read the sign in the front that shared some history, and then crossed the yard to peer down to the rocky coastline below.

According to the posted hours, he wouldn’t have time to tour the place today, so he made a mental note to return on the drive back to Muskegon. The sign also said something about being able to rent the old lightkeeper’s quarters for a vacation. Spending a week in a lighthouse? How cool would that be? He memorized the website URL and sauntered back to his car, stopping to survey the landscape just south of the lighthouse property.

A wide beach led back to an even wider expanse of dune and beach grass. Beyond that, farther east, was a huge old barn with decking on three sides, which he figured was probably the winery he’d seen a sign for on the way in. When he looked to the north and south of the barn, he again saw the neat rows of vines. Yes, that was . . . what was it again? Nolan’s Farm Winery. And wasn’t the Christmas tree stand at the corner also sporting the Nolan’s Farm name? Apparently the Nolans were an enterprising family.

He leaned against the hood of the car and peered past the vineyard. He could see rows of pines and remembered from his drive in that those took up at least twenty acres. He’d bet a bottle of good scotch there was at least one old farmhouse up there somewhere, possibly more than that.

His expert eye measured the vineyard and judged it to be roughly another ten acres or so. The dunes and beach grass that sat between the winery and the lake were maybe . . . what? Ten acres or twelve, tops. Beach frontage was maybe twelve hundred feet and change . . . so if the Nolan family owned all the way to the waterfront, then Nolan Farms was mostly likely a perfect quarter section of land—forty acres. Made sense. Before subdividing came along, land was purchased in quarter sections and he wouldn’t be a bit surprised to learn that the Nolan family had owned that quarter section for generations.

He pushed off the car and jogged down the parking area to where the asphalt road met the beach. A rock jetty thrust into the lake, making a breakwater in front of the lighthouse. Waves crashed against the huge stones, throwing mists up as high as the lighthouse grounds. At some point in time, someone had installed a steel seawall along the rocky shore fronting the property, probably to circumvent erosion. The jetty hid the steel seawall and the stones behind it made it appear that the jetty just curved around the lighthouse property. Pretty neat, really, although a concrete wall might have been sturdier.

Turning, he debated for less than five seconds before taking off down the beach adjacent to the lighthouse. The breeze was a bit chillier than it was in Muskegon and it fluffed his too-long grey hair into his eyes. He slicked it away from his forehead with one hand and continued down the beach, mentally assessing the land as he walked past it. Dammit, it was too freaking cold to see how deep the water was, but he could see a sandbar about fifty feet out. Definitely marina potential.

Nick shoved his hands into the pockets of his suit pants and turned around three hundred and sixty degrees, taking in the water, the beach, the grass-covered dunes . . . What a fantastic location—lighthouse, beach, trendy little winery, plus the area was a four-season playground, offering summer water sports and winter skiing—this was a developer’s dream. How had he never been here before?

Well, he was here now and unintentionally rescuing a very embarrassed lady. Nick leapt back from the ladder, but managed to use one foot to stop it from crashing into the tasting bar. The woman cringed and hid her face against his shoulder as the ladder rocked back and forth for a moment before settling back onto four legs. He shook the hair out of his eyes and took a good look at the lady in his arms.

She was truly lovely—medium-length brown hair streaked with snow white that was clearly the handiwork of God or genetics rather than a hairdresser, a soft peachy complexion that was enhanced, not marred, by laugh lines around her blue, blue eyes, and her curves fit against him as if she’d spent her whole life in his embrace. She didn’t struggle against his hold, but simply stared at him, eyes wide, arms around his neck, her breath coming fast.

“You okay?” he asked, his own breath hitching on the question. He really ought to put her down, but holding her felt so right he wasn’t inclined to set her on her feet just yet. Besides, he needed to make sure she wasn’t hurt and to find out why she smelled faintly of cake and cinnamon and, as she let out a sigh, coffee…

 

 

« Older Entries

Archives