17 September 2012

Excerpt of Heart of the Ozarks by Lee Ann Sontheimer-Murphy!

           

Excerpt:

Within a half hour, he fried all the fish, took the fries out of the oven and put a bowl of salad at each place.  They sat down at the small, rickety dinette table and before she took a bite, Maggie linked hands with him.  She said a simple grace and they shared the meal, the first one Cole truly enjoyed at the cabin since he arrived.  Supper evoked past memories of gathering around this table with his grandparents.  They’d eaten fish then, too, on many occasions. Cole recalled old times with a rush of nostalgia and joy, filtered through the decades.
The remembered sense of family rested easy on his soul and as he watched Maggie’s expressions shift as she talked and laughed, Cole felt like she was also family. He’d known her for most of his life and they were connected in a deep meaningful way.  A flash of guilt threatened to consume him because he’d never thought of Victoria as family, not in the way he did Maggie.  She’d been his wife but Cole hadn’t felt the same. To prevent self-reproach, he reasoned it wasn’t disloyal, just the way he felt.  He couldn’t change it or help it.
 A spectacular sunset commanded the western sky with a panorama of vivid color.  Most of the earlier clouds and rain moved away to leave behind the beautiful show. The red, orange and pink streaked sky created a stunning image.  Cole saw it through the window and pointed it out to Maggie.  They headed out to the porch for a better view and stood close, his arm draped across her shoulders.
“It’s gorgeous,” she breathed.  A rapt look of wonder lit her face. 
“Oh, yeah,” Cole said. “It’ll be fair tomorrow and sunny.  No more storms for now.”
Red sky at night, sailor’s delight,” Maggie said and Cole smiled too.  He relished the old weather folklore, the adages and sayings.  At the television station, he kept a collection of them in a special file.  Cole tried to come up with something witty to say back to preserve the moment but instead he noticed the rainbow, vivid and colorful, off to the far right horizon.
“Look, Maggie!” he cried. “Do you see the rainbow? God, it’s pretty.”
“Oh, how beautiful,” she said, looking up into his face. “You know a rainbow is a promise, don’t you?”
 Cole lacked words but not emotion.  He turned her to hold her in his arms and lowered his mouth close to hers.  “So’s this, Maggie.”
He kissed her.  Cole tasted her lips, soft velvet, and relished the taste.  Her mouth yielded to his without protest and her arms curled around his neck until her wrists rested on his shoulders.  He shifted until her body touched his and tightened his embrace.   The shared kiss touched off a fuse and Cole swore he felt the fire move through his body as it ignited every nerve.   Passion roused within but he tempered it with a care and grace, one shifting lust with tenderness.  Cole’s long dormant body revived and revved like a finely tuned race car engine.   Maggie’s flesh relaxed against him, gave over to his arms with open surrender.    If they stopped, he realized, it would be his call but Cole didn’t want to quit.



Heart of
the Ozarks
Lee Ann Sontheimer-Murphy

After St. Louis TV weathercaster Cole Celinksi loses his almost estranged wife and three children in a car crash, his boss orders him to take a leave of absence.  He heads to the quiet side of Lake Taneycomo in the Ozarks, to a resort he visited as a child.  On arrival Cole learns that his old summer friend Maggie runs the place and before long mutual attraction ignites.  Before he can heal, he must learn to deal with his loss and to see if he can create a new family with Maggie and her children.  It’s a task he’s not sure he can handle but if he wants to be with Maggie, he must.  A near tragedy brings them all together into a close knit unit and afterward, Cole may be able to make his dreams reality.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy writes romance from sweet to heat, from historical to contemporary.  She grew up in a blue collar neighborhood in the old river town of St. Joseph, Missouri where the past always seemed close enough to touch.  Her Granny shared stories of love and life and when Grandma took her along to the beauty shop, Lee Ann learned more than any child should about romance!  As soon as she could, she did her own field research into the subject. 
Her romance novels for Rebel Ink Press include Love Never Fails, Witness Protection Program, Sing We Now of Christmas, A Patient Heart, In Love’s Own Time, Miss Good Samaritan, In The Shadow of War, Guy’s Angel, Heart of the Ozarks, Dustbowl Dreams, Kosovo Stories: Two Hearts, One Love, and Devlin’s Grace available now or coming soon. Her Champagne Books titles include Kinfolk, A Time To Love, Long Live The King, and coming in March 2012, Urban Renewal.  Evernight Publishing offers her Love Covenant series as well as the stand-alone Wolfe’s Lady and Red In The Hood.   She has numerous other writing credits in fiction, non-fiction, and other media.
Lee Ann is a member of Romance Writers of America, Missouri Writers Guild, and the Ozark Writers League.  She earned a degree in both Communication Arts and History from Missouri Southern State University as well as a degree from Crowder College.  She spent a decade working in broadcast media and interviewed everyone from pro-league baseball players to country music icons and politicians.  She now lives in a small Missouri town in what passes for the suburbs.  Her husband, Roy, and her three children share her life along with her adorable Jack Russell terrier, Jackson. 

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