Shannon here: Candace West shares insight into her real life romance along with an excerpt from her Historical Romance title, Lane Steen. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing for a copy, reader’s choice print or e-book plus my two in one title, Sweetheart Reunion. Two books (technically three) up for grabs for one winner. Deadline: August 17th, 11:59 pm central. Here’s Candace:
- What’s the most romantic thing your spouse has ever done for you?
Two weeks after we were married, Aaron deployed to Afghanistan. I was scared to death, not knowing what to expect. To help me, Aaron arranged a scavenger hunt with clues that he had written and sent to his mom. With her and my parents help, they set up the clues that led me to a box of chocolates, roses, and a huge white bear. It was comforting yet fun at the same time!
- Where is the most romantic place you and your spouse have ever been?
After six months in Afghanistan, Aaron came home on leave for a couple of weeks. We went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Our cabin was awesome, and the sights breathtaking.
- How soon after meeting you did your spouse know you were the one?
That’s funny because we met when we were kids, but we attended different churches. When he was fifteen, he had a crush on me. I was clueless. At seventeen, I had my sights set on graduating high school and going to college. It took quite a few years for everything to work out. Aaron knew a lot longer before I did.
- Who is most romantic, you or your spouse?
I’d say we’re pretty much the same. Sometimes he is more romantic, and sometimes I am. It makes for a good balance between us.
- What is the most caring thing you’ve ever done for your spouse?
While Aaron was in Afghanistan, he needed a lot of encouragement and a connection to home. Every two weeks, I sent a box filled with things that he needed along with snacks that he liked. I would also send homemade treats. When I went to the store, I would scour the shelves trying to find something unique or quirky that would make him smile. At church, I gave his address to everyone. People loved sending him cards! I would also send him CD’s of our services so that he would hear the sermon and singing. It helped him feel apart of what was happening back home.
- Who said, “I love you” first, you or your spouse?
Aaron, definitely! It didn’t take him long at all!
Excerpt from Lane Steen by Candace West:
“Where ya been, girl? Yer ma’s been waitin’ on ya,” Pa boomed, struggling to rise from the porch steps. Then he saw Guy.
“What’s he doin’ here?” he yelled, staggering toward me. “Why, I oughta kill that louse! He don’t have no business here, and ya don’t have no business bringin’ him here. I’ll fix ya both!”
With a low gasp, I instinctively leaned against Guy.
Like a sudden gush of wind, he rushed forward and cracked a fist across Pa’s jaw.
Roaring like a wounded animal, Pa knocked Guy several feet away. His gaze fixed on me.
“You—you,” he sneered. “Think ya can bring yer sweetheart here, do ya?”
I was paralyzed. Behind him, Guy sprang up and tore across the yard furiously. Pa heard his steps too late. With an experienced arm, Guy seized Pa around the neck and twisted his arm behind his back with the other.
“If you dare lay a hand on Lane or her ma ever again, I swear I’ll kill you!” Guy breathed. “You’d best remember that. I ain’t a young boy anymore, and I won’t stand for it.”
Blood dripped from his lip. “I’m goin’ to stay on the porch tonight, and if I so much as hear a whimper in there, you’ll be sorry.” He pulled Pa’s arm tighter. Pa’s face contorted with pain. “I’ll be walkin’ her home every day too. I’d better never see another mark on her.” Jerking his arm once more, Guy shoved him onto the ground.
Guy brushed a hand across his bloody mouth and locked his eyes with mine. Inwardly, I shuddered. This was not the Guy I thought I knew.
“Get on inside. I’ll take care of him,” he said gently.
That evening, after Pa passed out in his bedroom, I slipped onto the porch. Guy sat quietly on the steps with his chestnut-colored head in his hands. Every tense muscle in his broad shoulders looked ready to spring on something. Yet there was something lonely about it too.
Blinking, I shook myself. I wasn’t ready to change my notions about Guy Matthews. I cleared my throat. “Mr. Matthews?”
Guy stirred. “Yeah. What do you need?”
“Oh, nothin’. I brought you this blanket. It’s pretty cold at night now.” Awkwardly, I held out my blanket.
Guy’s mouth twitched. “I’m used to it. Most nights like this I’m out campin’ or huntin’.”
“I know,” I replied before I thought.
This time, a sparkle crept into his eyes. “Is that so? Well, now, how’d you know?”
“Well … that is … I—”
“Might as well tell me ’cause I’ll find out.”
Defiantly, I lifted my chin. “Sometimes I hear you calling your hounds.”
“Do you now?” He grinned mischievously.
“Will you take the blanket or not?” I demanded, impatiently stomping my foot.
“Because that’s the only cover you’ve got, and I ain’t in the habit of takin’ somethin’ that belongs to a lady.” He shrugged.
Hiding my embarrassment, I asked stiffly, “How’d you know that?”
“My pa was a no-good drunk like yours. I’m pretty used to the cold myself.”
I tried to read the emotions in his eyes, but the deepening twilight shadowed them. I shuffled my feet. “Well, Mr. Matthews, I do want to thank you for … for all you’ve done today,” I muttered awkwardly.
Guy laughed softly. “You are a proper-actin’ girl. ‘I do want to thank you,’ she says. Where did you learn all that fancy talk?”
“From school—and readin’, I guess. I have a grammar and etiquette book that I study all the time. I’ve about memorized it.”
“Tryin’ to be better than us?”
My cheeks burned like fire. “No, I’m not! I just like to learn just like you like to hunt, and—”
“Whoa, don’t get so mad, Lane. I’m only kiddin’ with you.”
A few tense moments passed while I tried to calm my temper. “Well, I thank you just the same, sir.”
Shaking his head, Guy turned away and sighed deeply. “Think nothin’ of it. I aim to take care of you.”
His reply was so low that I strained my ears to hear it. “What?” I choked.
“You heard me. I aim to marry you someday.”
The next sound Guy heard was the bang of the door as I hurried back inside.
About Candace: Candace West was born in the Mississippi delta to a young minister and his wife. She grew up in small-town Arkansas and is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Monticello. When she was twelve years old, she wrote her first story, “Following Prairie River.” Since then, she has dreamed of writing Christian fiction. Over the years, she has published short stories as well as poems in various magazines. Since her teenage years, she has written many church plays. In 2018, she published her first novel Lane Steen. By weaving entertaining, page-turning stories, Candace hopes to share the Gospel and encourage her readers. She currently lives in her beloved Arkansas with her husband Aaron and their son Matthew along with two dogs and three cats.
About the book – Lane Steen:
How can she let go of the past when she is forced to confront it?
Kidnapped by her father at two years old, Lane Steen never imagines she is living a lie until a new schoolteacher, Edith Wallace, comes to Valley Creek. Yet Edith is more than a schoolteacher. She is part of the past–a past hidden in a mysterious dream that has haunted Lane since childhood.
At sixteen, Lane yearns to escape from her embittered father’s hatred that engulfs her home. The schoolhouse is Lane’s only escape. Carefully, Edith works to earn Lane’s friendship, but love and trust doesn’t come easy for a heart plagued by hate. But then the truth shatters Lane’s world.
The truth sends Lane on a turbulent search into the past. Leaving Valley Creek behind, Lane reunites with a family she cannot remember–a family that surpasses her wildest dreams. A family that belongs to her.
Despite her newfound joy, her hatred for her father only deepens. Although she desires to experience the faith of her family, Lane can’t cast away one thing she holds closely: the hatred that helped her survive.
Digging into her father’s unbelievable past, she confronts the story behind her father’s ruin. Will she always be bound by hate?
Yet something even stronger binds her. Something stronger than her family, something stronger than her will. She is bound to Valley Creek, the place of her stormy childhood, the place of the man she loves, but more importantly, the place of God’s calling. Ironically, she finds love, purpose, grace, and forgiveness in a place she’d sought all her life to escape.
Get your copy now:
Question for Readers: Do you like to read a romance that unfolds slowly over time or do you enjoy the quick love-at-first sight kind of romance?
Come back August 9th for Candace’s Devotion!