Shannon here: June Foster shares how her hero and heroine met with an excerpt from her latest Romantic Suspense, A Home in Cranberry Cove, (Book 4 in the Cranberry Cove series). Comment or answer the question in any post dated July 19th – 22nd to enter the drawing for an e-book copy. Deadline: July 30th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s June:
Excerpt from A Home in Cranberry Cove by June Foster:
Madison Mitchell climbed the wooden stairs to Sloan’s Fishing Supplies. Why not check out the store where her long, lost boyfriend used to work? Ha, who was she kidding? Ryder Langston had never been hers.
She passed the military museum and paused at the next window—an exclusive gift shop where the least expensive item would cost too much for her budget. Her budget strained by her recent circumstances—single and living on a teacher’s salary.
A stained-glass piece hanging in the window caught her eye. The picture depicted a summer woodland scene with rock stairs leading into a forest of Douglas fir and then fading into the distance.
She took a few steps closer as a tingle tickled her skin. Where did the stairs lead? Perhaps to a life better than the one she led now. A life where a husband valued her instead of divorcing her and leaving for another woman. Somehow, she knew the answer was important.
She meandered on to the last store. Since the first day Ryder had hired the assistant manager, the window displays had become more appealing, more professionally designed than some she’d seen in Seattle.
In the window, a display with a mannequin dressed in green chest waders stood next to fishing nets, colorful lures, and a variety of reels. The model raised a fly rod over his head, ready to cast. A ferocious bear on two hind legs hovered over the man as if ready to attack. Replicas of miniature, stately firs shaded a sparkling, blue pond.
The bell dinged as Madison walked through the door.
“Be right with you,” a person called from the back.
She strolled toward the display. The fly rod in the model’s hand didn’t look much different than the rod her father used the times he took her fishing when she was a child.
A rack of fly rods sat next to the window. She reached for one, lifted out the pole, and took several steps back into the aisle. Yep, she’d used one of these before, and she had plenty of room. With a flick of her wrist, she waved the rod backward over her head as her father had taught her. The handle slipped out of her grip and flew through the air behind her.
“Oh, no.” Madison whirled around.
A man held his head and grimaced.
She pressed her hands on either side of her cheeks. “Oh, dear.”
The guy swept his dark hair off his forehead and rubbed a red spot on his jaw. “The end of your fly rod caught me on the side of my face.”
Madison glanced at the rod lying on the floor and then up to the man again. “I’m so sorry.” She took a few steps toward him to examine his cheek. “I, er, I don’t know what got into me.” How could she tell him she’d relived her childhood memory of going fishing with her father?
The man’s nametag read Micah Collins, General Manager. His dark eyes twinkled with mischief as he reached down to pick up the rod. “Will this be cash or card?”
She drew her hand to her chest. “I hadn’t planned on purchasing the rod. Was it damaged?”
“Nope. But I figured you might want to get out on the stream and practice casting.”
“I suppose you’re right.” But going fishing was the last thing on her mind right now.
“With a purchase, we have individual and group fishing lessons available if you’re interested. I’d suggest you take a couple.”
Warmth heated Madison’s cheek. Now this guy was teasing her. Or maybe he wanted to make light of the awkward situation. “Yes, I’m sure you’re right. But I don’t get much time off.”
“No, problem. We teach at your convenience.” The store manager replaced the rod on the rack. “Are you interested in stream or ocean fishing?”
“I think stream would suit me better. Who are the instructors?”
Micah smiled. “I’m one. But I think I’ll assign another of our fishing guides to you.” He laughed. “Not sure I can survive any more wallops from your rod.”
“I’ll definitely not do that again.” Madison glanced around the well-stocked store. “So, you took Ryder Langston’s place when he left?”
“Yes. I was assistant manager for nine months until Ryder married.” Micah handed her a rod. “Try this one out for size. Did you know Ryder?”
“Yes.” No need to explain more. Madison turned toward the counter. The least she could do would be to buy a rod and sign up. “This one seems good to me. I think I better get my name on the list for fishing lessons.”
Micah chuckled. “You think?” He pulled a clipboard from the checkout desk. “Here we go. Give me your name, phone number, and the type of fishing you’d like to do. We’ll get back to you and arrange a convenient time.” He rang up her purchase. “Unless you plan to use it before the lesson, I can keep it here and bring it with me on the day of the lesson.”
Madison filled out the information and returned the form to Micah. “I’d appreciate it if you could hold on to it.”
Micah glanced at the notebook. “Madison Mitchell. I’ve lived here almost a year and haven’t met you.”
She swallowed hard. No way she’d tell him six months ago she was trying to teach school and make her marriage work. She restrained the sigh that begged to escape her lips.
“Besides shopping in fishing supply stores, what do you do?”
She twirled a strand of hair around her finger. “I’m a teacher at the high school, but I’m off for the summer.”
“Must be nice to have the time off to travel.”
Travel? No such luck. “Actually, I’m working at the inn this summer helping my best friend, Ashton Atwood.” And trying to forget about how things turned out with Josh.
The uncomfortable thought coiled in her stomach like the timber rattlesnake she’d encountered on a trek through the forest. She shook off the memory. “Well, I need to go.” She stepped toward the door.
Micah waved. “I’ll give you a call when we organize the next fishing excursion.”
“Thanks.” In the parking lot, Madison clicked the key to open her car. Ryder’s replacement at the store ranked high on her list of nice-looking men. But what difference did it make? She wasn’t interested in Micah Collins, or any guy for that matter—not until the pieces of her heart mended.
The fairy-dust ringtone sounded on her phone. A text. Probably Ashton asking her to pick up something for the inn. She paused to read it.
Babe. Just checking on you. Hope you’re okay. I’m sorry for the way things turned out. How can I make it up to you? Josh.
Madison firmed her lips. How dare Josh text her? She clicked off her phone and deleted the text. You can make it up to me by not texting me anymore.
Her stomach knotted into a tight ball. She didn’t trust him. What was her ex-husband up to?
Question for Readers: Have you ever been fishing? When was the last time you went fishing? Where did you go and what kind of fishing did you do?
About June: An award-winning author, June Foster is a retired teacher with a BA in Education and a MA in counseling. June began writing Christian romance in 2010 as she and her husband traveled the US in their RV. Her adventures provide a rich source of information for her novels. She brags about visiting a location before it becomes the setting in her next book.
To date, June has written over thirty contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels and novellas. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who encounter real-life difficulties yet live victorious lives. She’s published with Winged Publications. Visit her website to see a complete list of her books.
Her novel, The Inn at Cranberry Cove, won the 2021 Selah award for Romantic Suspense. It is available on Amazon in paperback, hardback, and eBook format.
About the book – A Home in Cranberry Cove:
Madison Mitchell will never trust a man again. The love of her life broke her heart and married a French chef. Now she throws herself into her work at The Inn at Cranberry Cove. When she accidentally tangles with the manager of a nearby fishing supply store, she suspects the handsome guy is hiding something.
Micah Collins flees Sacramento seeking solace in the seaside village in Washington state. But he discovers an enemy has followed him to Cranberry Cove. He must endure frightful threats at the same time keeping his previous life secret. When Madison finds herself in danger, Micah blames himself.
Madison and Micah are haunted by someone from Micah’s past, but is the culprit the real enemy or should they look elsewhere? Will they find a future together?
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Come back July 22nd for part 2 with June!