Happy Thursday everyone. I have a bit of Women’s Fiction for you to read today:
Always With You:
1977 is a glorious time to be alive in the beautiful wine country of Northern California, and Cathy has everything she thought she wanted – from a thriving health food café to loyal friends.
Since the devastating failure of her short-lived marriage, Cathy has buried herself in her work and kept men at arm’s length. But when an old high school friend, Pam, brings her family for a short stay, Cathy’s stone walls begin to crumble when she meets Jamie. Jamie, whose compassion and warmth slowly break down her defenses. Jamie, whose devotion to his four-year-old daughter melts Cathy’s heart and makes her desperate for a family of her own. Jamie… who is married to Pam.
A profound love that transcends time and place is impossible to resist. But is love more important than friendship? Are loyalty and fidelity an anchor or a chain? In the end, it’s all about choices – tough ones that can break hearts. Now Cathy must make the most difficult choice of her life.
Cathy steered her Honda over the familiar twists and turns of River Road as it meandered along the green waters of the Russian River. The summer sunrays blinded her as they leapt between the pines and flashed across her windshield. The traffic suddenly slowed. Without warning, a golden retriever sprinted out of the trees and onto the highway two cars ahead of her. She heard the screech of brakes and slammed on hers as hard as she could. Veering off to the right, she almost collided with a tree. Cathy jumped out of her car, and pushed through the onlookers. The dog was lying on the edge of the street, its chest heaving with every breath. Relief flooded her…it was still alive.
“I’m so sorry, so sorry,” the lady with the red car kept saying. “The sun was in my eyes. I couldn’t see.”
Cathy moved around her and bent over the dog. She petted his silky head and whispered, “Hang on, boy. It’s going to be okay.” The dog’s soft, brown eyes showed signs of understanding.
“Can someone help me? Please.”
Cathy rested the dog’s head in her lap. The traffic edged by with people gawking out of windows. “Just go away,” she wanted to scream.
A station wagon made a sharp turn and pulled beside them, blocking the road and creating a protective barricade. A man shot out of the car. Bright sunlight grazed his face as he walked briskly toward Cathy.
He knelt beside her, his blond hair falling into his face as his hands moved adeptly over the dog. “Is he yours?” the man asked.
Cathy looked up and nearly gasped. Those startling blue eyes—like the man in her dream.
The man stared at her, waiting for a response.
“No, he’s not mine,” Cathy finally said. “I just saw him run in the street and pulled over. Poor guy.”
“Not everyone would do that. That was kind.”
“Not everyone would pull over and help either,” Cathy said.
He turned over the dog’s tag. “Well, Charlie, it looks like you wandered from home and got into some trouble.”
The dog’s tail thumped against the pavement.
“We have to act fast,” he said. “But I think he has a good chance.”
Cathy looked down at the innocent, sweet dog. “He has to make it.” She broke into tears.
He put his arm around her shoulder. Cathy let her head rest into his warm chest.
“He’ll be fine. He will,” the man murmured into her hair.
Cathy wiped her tears. “Thank you.”
He stood and reached a hand out to pull her up. “Let’s go.”
“There’s a vet just down the road,” she said. “You can follow me.”
The man carefully picked up the retriever, folded him into his strong arms, and brought him to his car. She glanced at his profile. The dimple in his chin, the way his light hair framed his carved face. She knew him. Those familiar eyes. Just like in her dreams, where a man walked toward her through heavy ground fog. And when he approached, the image of his intense blue eyes boring into hers would jolt her awake. Who knew what dreams meant? She knew she could not ask him to stay, for in their haste with the dog, she had not noticed what she saw now: the gold wedding band on his left hand.
“You’ve been so kind,” Cathy said. “You don’t have to wait. I’ll take care of him.”
The man hesitated. “I do have to get back to the city but…”
Just at that moment, a teary young woman ran into the vet’s office. “Where’s my Charlie?” she asked the receptionist. “I love him so much. I feel so bad.”
The vet walked out. “Well, I’m happy to say Charlie seems only to have suffered a broken front leg. He’s in shock, so I think we should keep him overnight. I’m confident he’ll be going home tomorrow.”
The woman turned to Cathy and the helpful stranger. “I’m Paula. How can I thank you?”
“Just go love your dog,” he said.
Cathy stood. Her legs were wobbly.
“Are you going to be okay?” he asked. The kindness in his eyes almost made her cry again.
“I’m fine. Thanks. You can go back to the city now.”
When he reached the door, he turned and waved. “Take care of yourself.”
She stood and watched him go. Like a white knight in a station wagon, he drove out of her life.
If you like the sound of this Andrea Hurst is giving away five of these eBooks here:
And To Finish, a little about Andrea herself:
When not visiting local farmer’s markets or indulging her love for chocolate, Andrea Hurst is an author and literary agent. Her passion for books drives her to find and write stories that take readers on a journey to another place and leave them with an unforgettable impression. She is a developmental editor for publishers and authors, an instructor in creative writing at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, and a webinar presenter for Writers Digest. She lives with her dachshund in the Pacific Northwest, on an island much like the fictional Madrona, with all of its natural beauty and small town charm.
Her published books include The Guestbook, Tea & Comfort, and Always With You, The Lazy Dog’s Guide to Enlightenment and Everybody’s Natural Food Cookbook, and she co- authored A Book of Miracles. To learn more about Andrea and her books, visit www.andreahurst-author.com/author/ or www.andreahurst.com/
Join her on Facebook for book giveaways and more delicious recipes and scenic photos from Madrona Island at www.facebook.com/andreahurstauthor