The Healing Summer by USA Today Bestseller @LizFlaherty1 is a Trick or Treat Book Bonanza Pick #roma
Title: The Healing Summer
Author: Liz Flaherty
Genre: Contemporary Romance
When Steven Elliott accidentally rides his bike into Carol Whitney's car at the cemetery, the summer takes on new and exciting possibilities. Long friendship wends its way into something deeper when their hearts get involved. Feelings neither of them had expected to experience again enrich their days and nights. But what happens when the long summer ends? When Carol wants a family and commitment and a future, Steven isn't so sure. He's had his heart broken before—can he risk it again?
They were on the highway and the Eagles were singing “Hotel California” on the CD player when Steven broke the comfortable silence between them. “So.”
She knew what he wanted to ask, but she had no idea how much he knew of the conversations she and Grace had had since night before last. “Yes, I do,” she said pleasantly. “Not as well as I cook, but not badly, either. I actually do quite a bit of it if you count the quilts I make for the children’s hospital. I don’t like putting zippers in things, but hardly anyone—”
“Are you really planning to carry a baby for Grace and Dillon?”
“Yes.” She cut her gaze to him, but he never took his eyes from the road. Nothing in the line of his body gave her a clue about how he felt. “Providing the medical questions are answered to all of our satisfaction. I’m bigger than I should be, my blood pressure is iffy, I’m thirty-seven. I’ve had—” She stopped, turning her face toward the window. She’d told Grace this—she didn’t need to tell Grace’s brother, too.
“I know your baby died, but that wasn’t a pregnancy problem, was it?”
“No. Miranda died of SIDS when she was three months old.” Sudden infant death syndrome. Crib death. Carol had tried saying it both ways, but neither one hurt any less, so she’d taken to using the acronym. Most people knew what the letters meant. If they didn’t, she ignored their inquiring eyebrows and changed the subject.
“Have you had an abortion? Or more than one?” He spoke impersonally, like someone who’d just met her and didn’t like her very much. She felt wounded. He should have known her better.
“No.” She snapped the word off. The sharp sound of her own voice reminded her of cleaning green beans straight from the garden. Snap, snap, pop. The little internal analogy made her smile in spite of her irritation. Then she sighed. “I had a miscarriage about ten years ago. My gynecologist said there was no reason I couldn’t have more children, but I’ve never gotten pregnant again by either accident or design. That’s one of the things that will bear consideration. I don’t want to be the vehicle for Grace having her heart broken.” Or mine. It will hurt me, too, if I can’t do this most basic of woman-things.
“It’s a lot to ask even from a relative, much less a friend. Why would you do it for her?”
Carol hesitated. When she finally answered, her voice sounded flat to her own ears. “I go to the cemetery every week or so. So does Grace. You probably know that. She puts flowers on Promise’s grave and on your mother’s. Sometimes…often…when I get to Miranda’s grave, I’ll find fresh flowers already there. When Rand died, and Ed, and then when I lost Miranda and wanted to die, too, Grace and Promise were right there for me. I wasn’t a part of the friendship they shared, not then, but I was a part of them anyway. And they remain a part of me. Grace and I aren’t as close as she and Promise were, but she’s probably the best friend I’ve ever had anyway.” I promised your wife I’d be there for your sister, but I don’t know how to tell you that.
She looked at him, not going on until he glanced over and met her gaze. For just a heartbeat of time, long enough to connect. She told him what she could explain. “Grace has helped me care for my baby all these years, she’s listened to me talk about Rand and Ed when I couldn’t hold it inside anymore and I didn’t have anyone else to listen.” She blinked a couple of times because her eyes felt sticky. “Having a baby for her doesn’t seem like a lot to me.”
He didn’t answer, didn’t take his gaze from the road to mingle it with hers again, but he reached to where her arm rested on the console between their seats and took her hand. He didn’t give it an encouraging squeeze or raise it to his lips or pat it. He just folded her fingers in his and held them for a long time.
If you could dress up as anything or anyone this Halloween, what or who would it be and why?
I can’t believe how long I’ve thought about this question and still haven’t come up with a good answer! I think maybe Grandma Moses, because she was 100 years old and still doing amazing things. I could live with that!
Explain why your featured book is a treat to read:
The Healing Summer is a treat because Carol and Steven are people I want everyone to know. Their story has to do with heartbreak and redemption, two of my favorite parts of both reading and writing a romance. They’re funny sometimes, Steven can be a pain, and Carol is sometimes too nice for her own good, and I so hope readers love them as much as I do.
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Runs October 1 – 31
Drawing will be held on November 1.
Retired from the post office and married to Duane for…a really long time, USA Today bestselling author Liz Flaherty has had a heart-shaped adult life, populated with kids and grands and wonderful friends. She admits she can be boring, but hopes her curiosity about everyone and everything around her keeps her from it. She likes traveling and quilting and reading. And she loves writing.
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