Jill shook her head, and her chin trembled. “I’m so sorry. I had no clue.”
“What happened?” He pinched the bridge of his nose, scrambling for any clue about the situation. No stranger had stopped in and asked him any questions about the building. A steady stream of tourists entered the store but no single moment stood out. Over the past year, he had several normal encounters with members of the city council at various functions. Last Thanksgiving, he stood on a ladder and strung lights on the memorial in front of City Hall, smiling and exchanging pleasantries with the council members.
No one stopped to warn him. Had the property already been sold at that point? How could he not have known? He dropped his hand and sighed. “When did the town council decide to sell my property?” He rolled the papers into a cylinder.
“I don’t know.” Jill held up her hands. She set her mouth in a solid line.
He smoothed his free hand over his scalp. With his world spinning off its axis, he clutched onto her honesty. “I slipped from a year-long lease and into a month-to-month arrangement in the fall.” He shook his head. “I wasn’t paying attention. But I’ve saved enough. I can purchase the building. Mayor McKinney promised me he’d give me warning. I should have talked to the city months ago. I got busy with the new business and distracted. I have the money.”
“I don’t know any specifics. I rushed over as soon as I heard.” Her back rounded, and she hunched.
Extending both hands toward her, he tightened his grip on the rolled paper, crinkling the sheets. He snapped to attention, dropping his arms to his sides. While his instincts urged him to close the gap and comfort her, he held a more pressing concern.
She raised her chin. “I’ll find out. I can talk with the town council before the meeting tomorrow night.”
He recoiled from her clear blue-eyed stare, drawing back his chin. Gripping the papers with both hands, he twisted the cylinder like a towel. Exposing his troubles to the community at large was the absolute last option he’d choose. “I don’t want everyone talking about my situation. Only a handful of people know I sold. Won’t questions jumpstart speculation about my family?”
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.