by Cate Masters
I love release days! Today The Wild Rose Press releases Design for Life!
Joanna Aislinn is graciously allowing me to celebrate at her blog. Come on over! I'll be giving away a PDF copy to a random commenter. [As I write this, we're getting round 2 of Snowmageddon: another foot to two feet expected on top of the weekend's two feet of snow, so fingers crossed that the power and my Internet connection holds! If I'm not there, you'll know why!]
Here's the story blurb:
Becca Lyndon puts her dreams on hold by leaving art school to care for her ailing mom. Working full time at The Flower Basket leaves precious little time, but she squeezes in night classes at the local college. When Mike Hunter fills in as a substitute teacher, she worries about a repeat of the critical reviews he gave her work when he substituted at her high school three years earlier. His reason comes as a complete surprise, but can she trust him? Or will he disappear like her father? When that possibility looms all too real, she’s determined never to let the design for her life unravel again. Following her bliss requires work, but pays off in more ways than she ever imagined. She also learns that one door might close, but another can open—and lead to unexpected opportunities.
Here's the excerpt:
“Morning, ladies!” Becca took a moment to inhale the scent of fresh flowers permeating the air.
With a smile, Steffie waved as she talked on the phone.
Hitting a series of keys, Grace turned. “Hey, Becca.”
Donica Laurent entered from the back of the shop. “Good morning!”
The homey atmosphere in the shop always unraveled Becca’s wound nerves. Walking to the counter, she reached into her handbag, oversized to double as a briefcase to carry her art supplies. Her presentation last night had gone well, but she hoped this morning’s would surpass it.
“If you have a minute, can you take a look at these designs and let me know what you think? I used them for my class project last night.”
Grace laid a hand on her arm, her face alight. “Did you wow them?”
With a grin, Becca pulled out her sketch pad. “Not exactly. But Mr. Hunter said they were good.”
Her brow furrowed, Donica stepped next to her. “Who’s Mr. Hunter?”
“A substitute teacher.” Her words came out in a sing-song tone.
Steffie clucked her tongue. “Something about the way you say that makes me think he’s kinda cute.”
Becca couldn’t help but smile. “Not kind of. Very.”
At home last night, she found herself sketching Mike Hunter. His dark hair, tapering to the top of his collar, made her want to run her fingers through its waves. She wanted to remove his black rectangular-framed glasses, peer into his dark brown eyes that sparkled when his gaze met hers. Press her lips against his and push his corduroy jacket from his shoulders. Drawing his features gave her a sense of intimacy, one she wanted to experience.
Hoping the women didn’t notice, Becca fanned the warmth from her neck.
Thank goodness they were too busy laughing. Since she’d been hired at The Flower Basket, the three co-owners had come to feel like her sisters. Warm. Supportive. On the days she had to bring Mom to her doctor appointments, all encouraged her not worry about them, even though the shop had attracted so much new business, they sometimes put in sixteen hours.
Becca hoped to give something back. Something worthwhile.
Cate Masters writes fantasy/dark fantasy, historical, contemporary and speculative fiction, described by reviewers as “so compelling, I did not want to put it down,” “such romantic tales that really touch your soul,” “filled with action scenes which made it a riveting story,” and “the author weaves a great tale with a creative way of using words that makes the story refreshing to read.” Visit Cate online at www.catemasters.com, www.catemasters.blogspot.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.