Shannon here: Pat Jeanne Davis shares a romantic short story, a yummy recipe, and a chance to win a Kindle copy of her Historical Romance, When Valleys Bloom Again. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter. Deadline: Nov 20th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Pat:
Finding Mr. Right by Pat Jeanne Davis
Only one more week until she and her golden retriever would move into Aunt Peg’s old home. This morning she’d offered to help her aunt. Laura dressed in a hurry, putting on a long sleeve blue T-shirt with “Adopt A Pet” written in white letters across the front then she twisted her long brown hair up and clipped it under a barrette. Grabbing her keys before opening the door, she inhaled crisp autumn air. Under a bright blue sky and on a gentle breeze, leaves fluttered in red, gold, and orange. Perfect day for a yard sale.
When she pulled up at her soon-to-be home, shoppers mingled before tables. Laura positioned herself behind one ready to help them. A surge of nostalgia gripped her as she gazed at an untagged brown and crème colored music box nestled between knick-knacks. It couldn’t be her Nana’s! She’d always wondered what became of this hand-crafted piece. Laura was about to claim the box when someone picked it up.
He lifted the lid. Nana’s favorite song made popular by Elvis came drifting out. Laura’s eyes filled as the familiar melody with the words about falling in love ran through her mind. It was the one Nana and Pop-Pop danced to the night he’d proposed. Laura’s heart longed to find her “Mr. Right” and experience their enduring kind of love.
“Beautiful,” he said after the music stopped. “How much?”
If only she had remembered to set the alarm for this morning, she would’ve been here earlier. “Well. Um . . .”
Before she could say any more, her Aunt Peg was at her side. “That’ll be thirty dollars.”
He reached for his wallet. “A bargain.”
Laura moved closer to her aunt and whispered. “Could I speak to you?”
“Sure,” she said, a quizzical look on her face. Then turning to the customer, “Matt, this is my niece Laura. She’s bought my house. Laura, Matt.”
Matt, who was probably in his early thirties, like herself, smiled broadly, revealing perfect white teeth and a small scar at the corner of his lip. “Let me be the first to welcome you.”
Laura smiled. “Thank you.”
He shifted his feet. “Hard to see your aunt leave. She’s been a fantastic neighbor.”
Laura’s gaze shifted to the box in his hand. Hadn’t Matt noticed her interest in it too?
“My sister collects these,” he said.
She carefully wrapped the piece in bubble wrap. “All proceeds go toward pet rescue and adoption.”
“A cause I fully support.”
As she handed the prized piece over, their hands touched. His warm brown eyes fixed on hers, just long enough to cause that warm feeling to reach her cheeks. She regretted not having done something with her hair and put on a little makeup.
After Matt left, Aunt Peg put an arm around her shoulder. “You wanted to say something?”
Laura smiled. “Not now.”
“Then I’ll go say my goodbyes.”
Laura studied the intent expressions on the faces of those searching for a bargain, regretting the loss of Nana’s music box. A vivid picture of her Grandmother’s sweet smile flashed before her. Laura remembered her words, “I want you to find someone kind and gentle like your Granddad.”
Laura made a few sales, but kept thinking about Matt. What was it about him that stirred her senses?
When the crowd thinned out, Matt stood before her. “You should have this.” He held out the music box, while the other hand held a leash with a black Labrador dancing around his feet.
She let out a breath. “I don’t understand.”
He flashed that captivating smile. “Your aunt knocked on my door a few minutes ago—all apologies. It seems she’d forgotten the history behind this keepsake. He placed the piece in her hand.
Her heart raced at breakneck speed. “But you have nothing to show for your contribution to pet rescue.”
“Tell me where I can get one of those shirts you’re wearing.” He bent down and stroked his dog’s coat. “You did say all money raised goes to finding homes. I got Boss from a shelter.”
“I found my Lucy at one too,” she said, more convinced than ever she’d made the right decision to move here.
From the corner of her eye, Laura saw Aunt Peg looking in their direction, smiling. Was she playing the matchmaker?
Matt grimaced, but his eyes looked playful. “Tell you what. On moving day, let me take you out to dinner.”
A thousand butterflies flitted in her stomach. “I’d like that.”
Matt reached down and gently lifted the lid on her music box. “These yard sales always seem to hide a surprise or two.”
Her grandparent’s special song floated out. “You never know what treasures you’ll find,” she said, the melody rising within her heart.
Classic Apple Crisp Recipe:
- 8 medium apples, cut into 1-inch chunks that are 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick (about 10 cups chunks)
- 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (31g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (94g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1 cup (80g) old-fashioned whole oats
- optional: salted caramel and vanilla ice cream for serving
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking pan. Any 4 quart baking dish works.
- Mix all of the filling ingredients together in a large bowl, then spread into the baking pan.
- Make the topping: Whisk the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter using a pasty cutter or fork until the mixture becomes super crumbly. Stir in the oats. Sprinkle over filling.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit juices are bubbling around the edges. Remove from the oven, place on a wire rack, and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold– plain or with salted caramel and/or vanilla ice cream.
About Pat: Pat Jeanne DAvis has a keen interest in 20th Century United States and British history, particularly the period of World War II. Her longtime interest in that era goes back to the real-life stories she heard about family members who served during the war. When Valleys Bloom Again is a debut inspirational romance set in WWII. She enjoys flower gardening, genealogy research and traveling with her British-born husband. She writes from her home n Philadelphia, Pa. Pat has published essays, short stories and articles online and in print. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Faith, Hope, & Love Christian Writers. Learn more & connect:
About the book – When Valleys Bloom Again:
As war approaches in 1939 Abby Stapleton’s safety is under threat. Her father, a British diplomat, insists she go back to America until the danger passes. Abby vows to return to her home in London—but where is home? With her family facing mortal danger so far away and feeling isolated, she finds it hard to pray or read the Bible. Did she leave God behind in war-torn London too? Then Abby becomes friendly with Jim, a gardener on her uncle’s estate.
Jim can’t get Abby out of his mind. Did she have a sweetheart in England? Was it foolish to think she’d consider him? He curses his poverty and the disgrace of his father’s desertion and drunkenness haunts him. Can he learn to believe in love for a lifetime and to hope for a happy marriage?
Abby couldn’t know the war would last a long time, nor that she would fall in love with Jim—soon to be drafted by the U.S. Army—or that she’d have to confront Henri, a rejected suitor, determined by his lies to ruin her reputation and destroy her faith in God’s providence. Will she discover the true meaning of home and find happiness with Jim?
Can’t wait for the drawing? Worried you won’t win? Get your copy now!
Question to Readers: In the autumn, do you enjoy going to yard sales and flea markets to look for a one-of-a-kind keepsake? What cherished treasures have you brought back home?
Come back Nov 16th for Caryl McAdoo!