I usually create boards on pinterest for each project. Because this story really continued where Holidays, Inc. left off, however, I did not need the visual reminders and inspiration.
Picking up a couple weeks from the epilogue, Jill Howell is mayor of New Hope. She has only started to settle into her new role when drama enfolds and suddenly she and Rob are on opposite sides.
Writing in my fictional world was a lot like coming home. In the midst of the pandemic, editing the story in 2020 was a gift (and convinced me to add the third novel, currently in edits).
So what can you expect?
The diner: New Hope is nothing without Shirley and Ted at the Come Again Diner. Sitting opposite Rob’s Hardware Store, the diner is the entry to town. Shirley takes her unofficial role as a leader very seriously. The pair won’t take sides between Jill and Rob.
Familiar faces: of course Dani and Paul play important roles in the story as they navigate the start of their happily ever after. Nora and Andy are back with bigger presences. Kara Kensington is still on the periphery, preparing for her next venture.
The town: New Hope is changing as old businesses leave and new companies start up. What does gentrification really mean to a community?
Jill starts this book on a victory but has to go through a lot alone. Without Rob or her brother or Dani, can she stand on her own?
Rob has a lot to hide. His ready smile and easygoing personality conceal a man in turmoil. With added pressures, will he buckle?
Aden House, successful but driven chef and TV personality, refuses to slow down. His life implodes one night, damaging him both physically and emotionally. He’s rescued by a woman he thinks of as his angel.
Shay McDowell has rebuilt her life after her divorce. She juggles volunteer EMT duties and her job, while dreaming of becoming a chef. She finds her way to Rock House Grill and back into the life of the man she helped save.
Can love be the ingredient needed to survive the many obstacles they face?
I am so delighted to welcome D.V. Stone to the blog this week! Rock House Grill, celebrating its 1st birthday, was the winner for N.N. Lights Bookheaven 2020 Sweet Romance. I know you are going to love her book.
Tell us three things we’d find if we looked under your heroine’s bed? How about the hero’s?
Under Shay’s bed, you’ll find her Go-Bag. She’s an EMT and never knows when she may be gone for more than a few hours. Lot’s of cooking and restaurant magazines. A box of keepsakes of her grandma.
Aden is a neat freak. Nothing is under his bed.
What is the theme of this book? If it’s part of a series, how does this book fit into the series?
I want all my books to have a theme of hope and second chances. All the books will focus on a different couple. Still, the fraternal twins Aden and Olivia House will be in each story. Rock House Grill is the first book of the Impact Series. It introduces the House family and their circle of friends.
Why do you write this genre? What inspired this story? Do you write any other genres?
I read in many genres, and that’s how I write. Rock House was inspired by NaNoWriMo and the need for speed. So it was writing what I know. I love that I branched into this genre. But I have other published books and works in progress that are fantasy, paranormal, and young adult.
Any tips to share with fellow authors/aspiring authors? What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?
Writing is many things other than the creative process. It’s marketing, social media that can be frustrating. Fear of what others may think of your work can be paralyzing. Don’t let frustration or fear keep you from living out your dream.
“Easy, you’re going to be okay.” A soft voice eased through the chaos around him. The owner of the voice grabbed his arms and held them in a firm but gentle grip. “I’m right here with you. You are not alone.”
“Can hardly m-move.” His voice slurred. “C-can’t see anything.”
“You’ve been in an accident. I’m an EMT with the ambulance squad,” the velvety voice calmly explained. “You can’t see well because we’re under a tarp. Hold still, okay?”
“‘K.” A small light flickered at the edge of his vision. It shone into a bag next to him. Penlight.
“You’re restrained to a board. It’s to keep your head from moving and causing more injury.” She continued to talk to him.
The voice reached down somewhere inside him, calming and peaceful, so he focused on it. A glow from spotlights on the outside lit whatever covered them. The shadow gave the woman the appearance of a halo—like an angel.
Hi, my name is D. V. Stone. I am a multi-genre author of two independently published books. Felice, Shield-Mates of Dar is a fantasy romance. Agent Sam Carter and the Mystery at Branch Lake is a mid-grade paranormal. Recently, Rock House Grill was released by Wild Rose Press. Rainbow Sprinkles, a novella released on July 8th. I also host Welcome to the Campfire and A Peek Through the Window, both weekly blogs. Here’s a little more about me.
Born in Brooklyn, D.V. Stone has moved around a bit and even lived for a time on a dairy farm in Minnesota before moving back east. Throughout her wandering, she always considered herself a Jersey Girl. She met and married the love of her life, Pete—a lifelong Jersey Man, and moved this time to Sussex County. They live with Hali, a mixed breed from the local shelter, and their cat Baby.
D.V.’s career path varied from working with the disabled to become a volunteer EMT, which in turn led to working in hospital emergency rooms and then in a women’s state prison. After a few years, she took a break from medicine and became the owner of Heavenly Brew, a specialty coffee shop in Sparta, NJ, and a small restaurant in Lafayette. Life handed some setbacks. She ended up back in the medical field, but this time in a veterinary emergency hospital.
I’m so excited to welcome fellow Wild Rose Press Author, Jennifer Wilck. Her latest release, A Reckless Heart, published on March 29th and is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, and Kobo.
Meg Thurgood, former society girl, took the blame for her friend and paid a steep price. Now all she wants is solitude and a chance to rebuild her life. She thinks she’s found that in an isolated house she rents from a mysterious stranger.
Simon McAlter has hidden in his house on the coast of Maine since a fire left him scarred. A successful landscape architect who conducts his business and teaches his classes remotely, he’s lost his inspiration and is trying to pretend he’s not lonely.
Simon’s new neighbor is more than he bargained for. When he learns Meg’s secret, will he retreat into the shadows or will he learn to see past the surface and trust in Meg’s love?
And now, a scene that I hope you’ll love as much as I do. To give you a little bit of the setup, Meg is renting a house from Simon. The house has been damaged in a storm, and he’s trying to fix it. But his scarred hands make that difficult:
She watched him for ten minutes as he stood on the ladder, cursing and hammering in about equal measure as he struggled to cover the hole. But she didn’t pay attention to the curses or the hammer or the lack of progress. No, she paid attention to his ass. Another five minutes, and he shucked his jacket, allowing her a better view to admire how his denim jeans hugged his backside in all the right ways. The worn denim emphasized his thigh muscles. Her mouth went dry, and she looked away.
In the past, she’d always been a sucker for a guy in a well-cut tux. Now she knew what she’d missed.
Granted, she’d never done manual labor before, but if this was how it was to be, she’d turn into Lumberjack Jane. As she waited at the base of the ladder, Simon’s arm muscles flexed. She needed to stop staring. He wasn’t her type. Of course, she didn’t have a type anymore, not since she turned over a new leaf, but still. Moody, broody, and silent didn’t seem what she should switch to. No matter how attractive she might find him, she had to stop.
Except… His muscles were taut, his Henley stretched across them. When he bent his head, his hair swung to the side. He clenched his jaw. For every nail he pounded, he dropped three. Why did he insist on doing this work, when it was difficult? Was it pride? Fear of being seen? Something else? Her chest squeezed at his persistence and how hard he worked to overcome his difficulty. Other men might rail at the world for what happened, and what he could no longer do. Yet he never yelled at her or demanded she retrieve his dropped nails. He never asked her for help. He cursed in general and continued.
She snuck glances his way as he continued to attempt to fasten the tarp. Maybe it was time to worry less and take control of the situation.
She climbed the ladder. When he didn’t stop or acknowledge her presence despite the rattle of the metal against the side of the house, she held out her hand. It hovered in midair until, with a deep breath, she lowered it onto his shoulder. He froze, and she forgot to breathe. Bone, muscle, and sinew flexed beneath her fingers. The soft material separating skin from skin contrasted with the hardness of his shoulder and overwhelmed her.
She wanted him. More than she’d ever wanted any other man, she wanted Simon. Her mind carried her to the day when he’d protected her from the storm. His spicy scent, mixed with the scent of the cut tree, filled her nostrils and warmth pooled in her belly.
“What are you doing?” His question sounded strangled.
What was she doing? Physical contact eliminated all thoughts other than a desire to be with him. She tried to remember why she’d come here in the first place.
He dropped another nail. Oh, right. “Give me the nails.”
“Give me the nails. I’ll hold them. You can hammer.”
“I don’t need your help.”
“Please?” She kept her tone matter-of-fact, so as not to offend him.
His tension left him and without a word he clumsily dumped the nails he held into her hand. She cupped her hands together and held them out to Simon, waiting for him to pick a nail to use. He grabbed for one, but with his bent, stiff fingers, all he did was mix them around and scrape her skin. The contact tickled, but the sight of his scars made her pause. This was why it took him such a long time. She glanced at him and caught his expression a split second before he covered his face with his hair and looked away.
His hands, with their scars, didn’t have the fine motor skills to hold an individual nail in place, which meant if she were to help him, she’d have to do it while he hammered.
She blanched as she looked at his hammer. Could she trust him not to miss? Desire and compassion for this man combined. He’d gone out of his way to help her.
She trusted him.
The last time she’d helped a friend she’d lost everything. Maybe the consequences this time weren’t as severe—worst case, she got bruised fingers. If it happened too often, she could tell him to stop. But did she want to sacrifice her own well-being for someone else again? There used to be a time when she’d never have given the question any thought. The answer would have been clear. But now?
With shaking hands, she held the nail in place and raised her shoulders to her ears as she waited in fear. Nothing happened. Movement to her left made her hold her breath. His large hand on hers made her jump. She might have squeaked, but she would never admit it. Pressure on her palm was firm but gentle. Her lips were pressed together, and she swallowed.
He moved her hand into the correct position. “I won’t hurt you.” His voice was low and hoarse. She stared at his thumb as he tilted her wrist and positioned her hand in the exact spot he wanted the nail. His touch sent tingles along her arm, and goose bumps formed. She wanted to twist her hand and hold onto his, but she’d drop the nail, and he’d probably curse at them again. She let him maneuver her fingers into their proper position. When he was satisfied, he placed his own hand over hers, so only the nail head showed. His scarred skin was warm against hers. With a quick set of taps, he hammered it into the wood before her goose bumps faded.
He’d protected her.
Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Even as an adult, she thinks about the characters and stories at night before she falls asleep or walking the dog. Eventually, she started writing them down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.
In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. When she’s not writing, she loves to laugh with her family and friends, is a pro at finding whatever her kids lost in plain sight, and spends way too much time closing doors that should never have been left open in the first place. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and does not believe in sharing her chocolate.
She writes contemporary romance, some of which are mainstream and some of which involve Jewish characters. She’s published with The Wild Rose Press and all her books are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.