New Release | The Summer of Sorrow and Dance by @LizFlaherty1 #romance #newrelease #bookboost
Title: The Summer of Sorrow and Dance
Author: Liz Flaherty
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Magnolia Blossom Publishing
In the midst of a summer of change, they’re both searching for an anchor. Dinah is a mom, a giver, and a doer, so she’s used to change, but this summer is kind of overdoing that. The diner where she’s worked for half her life is closing, her college-age kids aren’t coming home for the summer, and a property on nearby Cooper Lake is calling her name, bringing long-held dreams of owning a B & B to the fore. Newcomer Zach Applegate is entering into her dreams, too. Divorced dad, contractor, and recovering alcoholic Zach is in Fallen Soldier, Pennsylvania, to visit his brother and to decide what’s coming next in his life. He doesn’t like change much, yet it seems to be everywhere. But he finds an affinity for remodeling and restoration, is overjoyed when his teenage sons join him for the summer, and he likes Dinah Tyler, too. A lot. Dinah and Zach each experience sorrow and tumult,but go on to dance in the kitchen. Together, they have something, but is it enough?
The Folly was an unattainable dream, but she expected both the asking price and the length of time it had sat empty were the reasons the realtor’s sign hung on its gate. A mowing service kept the grass at bay in summer months, but she’d never seen tracks through the snow on the driveway. She had no idea what condition the plumbing was in or if the heating and air conditioning were functional.
She only knew she loved the house.
But she loved her thousand-square-feet ranch house, too. Some things, like big lake houses, were meant for other people.
“Does he want something?” Zach pointed at where Bendix stood in the arched doorway between the kitchen and living room.
“Oh, my goodness. I forgot to feed Grace. Will you get her from Bendy’s bed while I warm her milk? She’s the kitten,” she added, probably unnecessarily.
He followed the worried dog into the living room, coming back with the fleece-wrapped kitten. “I’ll feed her,” he offered, tickling under the tiny chin.
Dinah looked at him, holding Grace with gentle hands and assuring Bendix in a soothing voice that he would take care of her.
Something stirred under her ribs. The sensation was warm…more than warm…and felt good. Familiar and yet not. She was a commonsense person—that was how she’d raised the triplets and made a life for herself. She’d done it without rushes of feeling like the one that was warming her cheeks right this minute.
But there was something about a man holding a kitten.
After Grace had eaten and fallen back asleep in her blanket, Zach helped load the dishwasher and turned down the offer of coffee. Dinah walked with him to the door, reflecting that it had been a long time since she’d kissed a man other than her sons goodnight. If Zach made a move in that direction, she thought she might meet him halfway.
She didn’t want to examine how disappointed she was that he didn’t make that move. “I enjoyed it,” he said. “I’d like to see you again.”
Just that quickly, he was gone. She locked the door after him. Now that she was alone, her achy calves reminded her of how tired she was. She put on pajamas and poured a glass of wine from an opened bottle in the fridge, smiling for a moment at the one he’d brought. It was her favorite, but she always bought the cheap kind.
She moved to turn off the kitchen light, but her eye caught the pile of mail on the counter. Since Reuben wasn’t going to help her out with it, she thought she’d better look at it before it became a fire hazard. She paid all her bills except the electricity online, so they weren’t a concern, but maybe there would actually be something to enjoy, or mail she’d need to forward to the kids.
The kids who weren’t coming home this summer. The little turncoats. Not that little was fitting. The triplets had her blue eyes and brown hair, but they had Brian’s height, athletic build, and large feet. Not that her own feet didn’t fall into that category, too.
It was funny, she thought, sitting in a chair with the mail and Grace in her lap and Bendix at her feet, that she was used to the kids being gone—they were finishing their second year in college—but having them away for the summer felt far too much like the end of…everything. She would always be their mom, but they didn’t need her anymore.
She set aside the church’s monthly newsletter to read later and tossed a dozen envelopes and at least that many advertisement flyers into a cardboard box for recycling. She really should check her mail more often.
A post card gave her pause. Save the date! The second Saturday in August was scheduled for her high school class’s twenty-year reunion. But she hadn’t gone to school her junior and senior years. She’d married Brian and had the kids and gotten her GED. None of the people she’d known then were friends now. At least, not close ones.
She set the card aside, adding it to the thank-you notes she’d read a few days before. Maybe she would save the date. Maybe she’d even take a date. She grinned at her own train of thought. The kitten in her lap squeaked, and Bendix lifted his head.
“Okay, okay.” She got the dog a treat and filled the feeding bottle Maureen Chamberlain, the local veterinarian, had dropped off at the diner for her to use in lieu of the medicine dropper to satisfy the greedy kitten. “I think it’s time you graduated to a couple of hours between feedings, don’t you? I really could stand to get some sleep.”
When the kitten was asleep again, she put her in Bendy’s bed, refilled her glass, and turned on music. When Arlie was home, they belted out backup with Adele and Lady Gaga using wooden spoons as microphones, but the music was just as good when the artists sang alone. Maybe even better.
Back in her chair, she reached for the last of the accumulated mail, promising herself she’d start getting it out of the box every single delivery day. She could go through it while she drank her after-work cup of coffee and reveled in not being on her feet.
The last letter, a business size envelope with the name of diner’s owner in its return address, gave her pause. What does he want? Normally, the only communication she had with him came in the forms of phone calls concerning reports or payroll or terse emails denying her requests to have the booths and counter stools reupholstered or have the sidewalk in front of the building repaired.
She slit open the envelope carefully, reluctantly, and unfolded the single page within. As she read, Bendix got up from where he lay at her feet, putting an anxious paw on her knee and whining softly. “Well, Bendy.” Unsure she’d gotten it right the first time, Dinah read the paragraphs again. “Dang it all.”
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USA Today bestselling author Liz Flaherty started writing in the fourth grade when her Aunt Gladys allowed her to use her portable Royal typewriter. The truth was that her aunt would have let her do anything to get her out of her hair, but the typewriter and the stories it could produce caught on, and Liz never again had a day without a what if… in it.
She and Duane, her husband of at least forever, live in a farmhouse in central Indiana, sharing grown children, spoiled cats, and their grandkids, the Magnificent Seven. (Don’t get her started on them—you’ll be here all day.)
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