Title: ACT OF TRUST, Book 2 The Second Chances Series
Author: Marsha R. West
Genre: Second Chance Romantic Suspense, Seasoned Romance
A widow since 9/11 and a mother of grown daughter, Kate Thompson wants to keep her and her daughter safe, but the inheritance of land in Maine pushes her out of her comfort zone in Texas and into the arms of a Maine lawyer. Maine lawyer and environmentalist, Jim Donovan wants to protect Liddy Thompson’s land and keep it from falling into the hands of the developers, but first he has to convince Kate Thompson she should hold on to the family land when she doesn’t even want to go look at it. However, he’s unprepared for the attraction each feels for the other but deny exists.
Will they be able to settle the land deal before anyone else is killed or they break each other’s hearts?
The deep bonging of the doorbell startled Kate Thompson, making her slosh her wine.
“Who is it?” She hated the timidity she heard in her tone.
“My name is Jim Donovan. I’d like to talk to Katherine Thompson.” The deep voice with a Yankee accent she recognized from the phone rumbled through the door.
“Are you the lawyer from Maine?” Why in the world would he come down here?
Kate shut off the alarm and swung open the door, and her thoughts jumped straight from her brain and out her mouth. “What are you doing here?”
“So much for that Texas hospitality I’ve always heard about.” He held a briefcase in one hand.
“I’m sorry. You’ve taken me by surprise. Come in.” She stepped back for him to enter and headed for the living room in bare feet, wishing for her shoes. The Yankee was tall. Over six feet, and her five feet four inches, which technically was average, seemed dreadfully short. “Can I offer you something? Normally, I wouldn’t have a drink this early, but I’m celebrating a big closing.” What was the matter with her, babbling? She didn’t owe him any explanations. She rose and clasped her hands in front of her. “You know, I don’t believe we have anything to say to one another.”
Donovan stood also. “I’m sorry.” He raised his hands in a stopping motion. “Let’s start again. I apologize. I’ve had a long day. Delays at airports,” he spit through gritted teeth.
“All right, Mr. Donovan. I accept your apology, but I still don’t believe we have anything to say to each other.” She sat down, and after a moment, he settled on the chair.
He reached into his case and drew out a laptop. “I won’t say anything. Let me show you a few pictures instead.”
“Pictures of what?”
“Your aunt’s property. May I?” He rose and gestured to the place next to her on the sofa.
Kate nodded. When he sat next to her, she caught a pleasant aroma. Despite his being a captive in an airplane all day—she managed not to cringe at the idea—he suggested the outdoors and forests. Unexpected and odd she’d noticed.
Donovan flipped open the laptop and then touched the screen a couple of times. “Look at these. I only need you to give me a few minutes.”
She sat silently while he flipped through pictures of forests, fields, and several amazing vistas, which looked out over vast expanses of water.
“These were all taken on your Aunt Liddy’s land.”
“Actually, she was my late husband’s aunt.”
“You were family to her.” Kate didn’t miss the hint of censure in his voice.
“I can’t deny the pictures are beautiful, Mr. Donovan, but I’m a city gal who has no interest in your northeastern woods. I don’t want the land. I want to sell.”
“Listen, Ms. Thompson—Kate—that’s how Liddy spoke of you. The land was important to her. It is to me, but not to everyone. A group of us, including your aunt set up a conservancy called the Maine Coast Conservancy Trust. Many people don’t value the land the way we do. Your aunt wouldn’t want one of the unscrupulous companies to be able to concrete over it all with condos or worse hotels.”
“Mr. Donovan, I appreciate your sentiments, but there’s no reason for me to own land in Maine.”
Donovan rose and paced back in forth in front of her. Kate reached for her wine and the short gulp resulted in a coughing fit. The energy radiating off the man made her nervous.
He jerked around and crossed toward her his lips clamped in a straight line. “Come with me to look at it.”
“What?” Kate leaned away from him. His intensity bombarded her, making her feel like a wave on the beach had caught her up and was about to smash her against the bottom. He must be nuts. The beginning of her victim’s flush crawled up her neck.
“Come with me to look at Liddy’s property.”
“I don’t fly, Mr. Donovan.” Her hands clenched at the mere idea.
“I know, Kate. Liddy told me how you lost your husband, her nephew. There are no words to express how sorry I am for you. I can’t begin to imagine how difficult that had to be. I do know how hard it hit Liddy.” He paused, then in two steps was next to her on the sofa. He sank down so close his leg brushed hers. His large hand folded over hers resting in her lap.
Her heart jerked at his touch. Was the man crazy? By now, the flush had grown to full-blown across her cheeks. She was helpless to stop it.
“This land has been in John’s family for generations. Wouldn’t he want it to stay that way?”
Her eyes filled with moisture. Damn if she’d cry in front of this man. She blinked several times and dug for composure. “How dare you?” She yanked her hand away and leapt from the sofa. Distance from Jim Donovan a must. “You presume to know what my husband would or wouldn’t want?” The words tumbled out vibrating with the pain rising from her middle. Despite many years of counseling, the devastating events of September 11, 2001, still clamped her in a vice.
Her husband’s voice on the phone came through loud and clear in her head, when he told her how much he loved her. When he told her how much he loved Blair. When he told her, he hoped she’d get on with her life without him. “Ahhhh.” She folded in on herself, sinking to the floor with loss engulfing her, shocking her in its intensity. The pain hadn’t hit her like this in many years.
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
Book 2 of The Second Chances Series continues the story of the four Texas women, friends since summer camp, and focuses on Kate Thompson who lost her husband on 9/11. Anyone who has suffered loss will be able to identify with Kate and draw strength form how she and her daughter struggle to move past this tragic event. The story is about family values and the importance of the land. In this case the land is in the beautiful state of Maine.
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A retired elementary school principal, a former school board member, and theatre arts teacher, Marsha R. West writes Romance, Suspense, and Second Chances. Experience Required. She lives in Texas with her supportive lawyer husband and Charley, a deaf, Chihuahua/Jack Russell Terrier. Their two daughters presented them with three delightful grandchildren all who live nearby.
The theme of Marsha’s eight books is always second chances. She even has a four-part series titled The Second Chances Series. She believes in Happily Ever afters. Her husband picked up a plaque for her on one of their several trips to Maine that states her philosophy exactly. Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it’s not the end. The Heroines and Heroes in her books are in their 40s and 50s with their parents and children often playing supporting roles.
She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, the North Texas local chapter, NTRWA, Authors Marketing Guild LLC, & the WORD BY WORD Blo