After I wrote my first Christmas novella, Christmas Confusion, I sent it to my mentor.She said she was looking forward to the other sister’s stories so I wrote the youngest sister, Shelby’s story, Sweet Summer.When I sent that manuscript to my publisher, Anaiah Press, they said that there wasn’t enough time to edit a full-length novelfor that summer. Rather than wait another year to publish another book, I hurried and wrote Christmas on Ocracoke. The actual inspiration for the story came from a vacation. My youngest sister and her husband purchased a vacationhome on Hatteras Island and our families converged there after Christmas 2019. Even though Hurricane Dorian had come throughthe September before, the devastation was still obvious and heart-breaking, especially on Ocracoke Island. I was inspiredto write a story about the people on that island and their sense of community after such a natural disaster. I also include a linkwhere people might donate to their cause.
About the book:
Shelby Marano is the youngest of three sisters and was always Daddy’s baby girl—until her father was murdered when she was only eight years old. Ever since, she’s been running from anyone or anything that could truly hurt her. Instead, she seeks calculated thrills that leave her exhilarated, but when she’s caught outside during a summer storm, she quickly realizes not all adventures are within her control.
Tyler Burgess struggles with the responsibility of caring for a mother suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Forced to take a leave of absence from work and put his life on hold, his only reprieve is the volunteer work he does at the local museum. When a soaking-wet Shelby barges in, he offers her both refuge from the rain and a safe place to land. She’s the breath of fresh air he didn’t know he needed.
Tyler proves to be much more than just a nerd in a history museum, but what she finds out about him is a deal-breaker for her. As family health issues and an unknown stalker threaten Shelby’s perfect little world, she learns a hard lesson: no one can hide from the dangers of life. Can Shelby let her sisters, Tyler, and even more importantly, God, show her in one Sweet Summer that love is worth taking the risk?
Both day and night belong to you; you made the starlight and the sun. You set the boundaries of the earth, and you made both summer and winter. Psalms 75:16-17
Water sluiced down Shelby Marano’s back, and she ran faster, as if it were possible to outrace a tropical downpour that wanted to be a hurricane when it grew up. Her feet pounded on the sidewalk next to the Charleston harbor sea wall, agony streaking up her calf. The orthopedist had advised her to take a break, but she could no more stop running than she could give up coffee or taking risks.
She slowed and searched for shelter. A black pickup approached, and she did a quick glance-over. The vehicle looked a lot like Thomas’s car, and aggravation ripped through her like a leg cramp. Then, the vehicle picked up speed, passing by. She tripped over a cobblestone, her heart slowing down in relief, and she could take in oxygen again.
Shelby focused back on her surroundings and not her paranoia. The Battery sat at the tip of the peninsula of Charleston, a beautiful green expanse with statues and cannons and a gazebo. The gazebo offered a roof, but this rain slanted sideways, and she needed walls. The ancient live oaks offered a bit of protection, but no public place for blocks. She sighed, then squealed when lightning struck in the harbor.
She picked up her pace, weaving to avoid rain puddles down East Bay Street, and took a left at the first side street that came her way. The roof overhangs helped her predicament some, but several more intersections went by before she saw an open door to a museum. If she’d gone straight down East Bay Street, she’d have located shelter faster, but she’d have walked into a tourist trap full of people while she looked like a soaked Labradoodle with her corkscrew blond curls half-soaked and half-sprung.
The sign read “Open,” and she headed for refuge. The wrought iron gate scraped the sidewalk as she shoved it open, and she danced a quickstep as thunder rolled. Up a dozen worn concrete steps and she stood on the columned porch, looking back out at the street.
“Hello?” The man’s voice came from behind her, inside the museum foyer. “You can come in and get out of the weather. We’re free.”
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