Shannon here: Pat Nichols shares a romantic excerpt from her latest Contemporary Romance, Jenny’s Grace. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for a copy. Deadline: Nov 5th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Pat:
Excerpt of Jenny and Sam’s second encounter in Jenny’s Grace by Pat Nichols:
Sam Gibson swiveled his executive chair, faced the dark blue wall behind his desk, and laced his fingers behind his neck. While eyeing an oil painting depicting the sun rising over the ocean and waves crashing on a cliff, his mind drifted to the stranger whose shoulder had brushed his chest. A head shorter than his five-foot-ten-inch frame. Sun-streaked, silky brown hair. Mesmerizing hazel eyes. Why hadn’t he asked her name? Didn’t matter. She was probably passing through town. A knock preceded his door opening. He spun his chair around.
His receptionist peeked in. “A pretty young lady needs your assistance.”
“Show her in.” He hastened to the door.
The stranger strolled toward him.
His breath caught as he extended his hand. “We meet again. I’m Sam Gibson.”
She flashed an enticing smile and accepted his hand. “Jenny Collins. It’s a pleasure to meet you officially.”
His eyes lingered on hers as he breathed in the delicious scent wafting around her. Who was this intoxicating woman? He released her hand and pointed to a plush-leather easy chair. “Please, have a seat.”
She sat and crossed a leg over her knee, revealing three inches of thigh below her denim skirt. “Gorgeous office.” She pointed to the wall behind his desk. “Love the painting. So inspirational.”
“My sister selected it.” Sam diverted his gaze and moved to his desk chair. “She claims it represents new beginnings.”
“Perfect choice for a real-estate office.” Jenny leaned forward and ran her fingers along the top of his mahogany desk. “Is this beautiful piece a real antique or a masterful copy?”
Interesting. She recognized quality. “The real deal. It belonged to my great-grandfather. He founded Gibson Realty.”
“Which means you’re following in the family business.”
“After Grandpa retires, I plan to expand and open an office in Athens. Make Gibson Realty the top agency in Central Georgia.” What prompted him to share details with a total stranger? Except she didn’t feel like a stranger. “How can I help you, Ms. Collins?” He kept his gaze firmly planted on her face.
“I’m new in town and need a place to rent.” She tilted her head and fluttered her lashes. “Not too expensive, and on a month-to-month basis.”
Why month-to-month, and what did she consider not too expensive? He noted the rhinestones on her denim jacket. It didn’t look cheap. “You’ve come to the right place. Do you prefer a house or an apartment?”
“The latter. Close to downtown. Furnished. One bedroom’s fine.”
“Let me see what’s available.” He tapped his laptop keyboard. “I found two excellent properties.” He turned the screen toward her.
She focused on the options for a moment then stood and moved to an array of black and white photos arranged on the side wall. “Are you the photographer?”
“My grandfather shot those. They represent a few of Madison’s historic homes.”
“Lou said you’re a top-notch real-estate agent who knows how to satisfy customers.”
“She’s my number-one fan.”
“I begin working at the coffee shop tomorrow. At the moment, I’m a bit low on cash.”
“How much are you prepared to spend?”
Her eyes met his. “A hundred for the first month.”
Sam clenched his teeth to keep his jaw from dropping. Maybe he should suggest she rent a pop-up tent.
“Recently I had some unexpected expenses.” She returned to the chair. “I have a portfolio full of recommendation letters and references.”
She wouldn’t offer references if she had something to hide, would she? Besides, Lou trusted her enough to hire her. “I can’t promise anything, Miss Collins—”
“Please, call me Jenny.” She flashed a smile. “The moment I walked into this beautiful office and our hands touched, I sensed I’d come to the right place, Mr. Gibson.”
His eyes locked on hers. “Sam.” What was it about her? The way she tilted her head and fluttered her lashes? The attraction seemed more than physical. Maybe it was her vulnerability. Unlike the blonde who broke his heart, this stranger needed him, or at least his expertise. One fact he couldn’t deny—he had to come through for her. “I’ll do everything I can to find you a place to live.”
“Thank you. For now, I’d best be on my way.” She stood.
He dashed to the door.
She tilted her head and touched his arm. “Do you mind if I stop by tomorrow around noon to find out when I can move into my new place?”
Sam swallowed. “That’ll work.” He escorted her through the reception area and held the front door open.
“Until tomorrow, Sam.” Her shoulder brushed his chest again as she moved past and turned toward Main Street.
Question for Readers: What do you remember most about the first time you met the love of your life or an important person in your life?
About Pat: Award-winning author, Pat Nichols is proving it’s never too late to follow your dreams. Nine years after retiring from a twenty-seven-year corporate career with an international beauty company, her love for writing resurfaced and prompted her to launch career number two as a novelist. Now she draws on her experience to write stories with tension-laced challenges and heart-warming triumphs. The Secret of Willow Inn is a 2020 Selah Award winner. Starstruck in Willow Falls is a NGCWC Georgia Peach Award winner. Her short story The Vet and Valentine Day is also won a NGCWC Georgia Peach Award. Pat is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Word Weavers International. Learn more & connect:
About the book – Jenny’s Grace:
How far will Jenny run to escape the dark secrets that hold her heart hostage?
After ten years and five cities, Chef Jenny Collins returns to Atlanta with two goals. Attract an investor and open her own restaurant to prove she’s nothing like her mother. Until a fateful decision compels her to pack all of her possessions in her car and flee again—this time to Madison, Georgia. Desperate for cash, she settles for a job serving customers and making donuts at Lou’s Coffee Shop—a far cry from the prestigious positions displayed in her chef portfolio. When she meets handsome real-estate agent, Sam Gibson, she pegs him as another short-term fling. Then she makes the mistake of falling in love. To protect him from the truth, she suppresses her emotions and feelings, hoping he’ll settle for friendship.
Sam Gibson, a regular at Lou’s Coffee Shop, is still reeling from a broken heart when Jenny walks into his office, broke and needing a place to rent. Eager to please her, he secures the one place she can afford to live—the apartment above his grandfather’s garage. As his desire for a life-long, passionate romance intensifies, her mixed signals confuse him. Despite his sister’s warnings and his growing frustration, he heeds his grandfather’s advice and vows to capture Jenny’s heart. Following her surprise announcement about a new opportunity in another town, will he summon the strength to continue fighting for her love?
When tragedy strikes, will Jenny find her way into Sam’s arms and tell him the shocking truth, or will she flee to another new beginning and keep her dark secret hidden forever?
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