Shannon here: Contemporary Romance author, Regina Merrick shares how she met her husband and how her characters meet in her debut novel, Carolina Dream. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing for winner’s choice of an e-book or paperback copy. Deadline: June 10th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Regina:
I was very young when Todd and I began dating, but we had known one another since our preschool years. My mother-in-law likes to tell the story of how my husband wanted to trade his brother (one month younger than me) for me, and how my brother-in-law (five years older than me) asked her how old he would be when I turned eighteen. He knew HIS mom got married at eighteen, so that was the date in that five-year-old boy’s mind!
Then there’s the fact that when I was five, Todd’s YOUNGER brother was the object of my affections. I was pre-destined to become a Merrick, apparently.
But when it came to our engagement, we were living in separate states. My parents had accepted a call into volunteer missions at a Baptist camp in Indiana. We lived there for three of the four years my husband and I dated. He was in college, I was in high school. That time of my life was NOT funny, but it taught me a lot about commitment and faith. Looking back, it was a growing time for both of us.
We became officially engaged on my eighteenth birthday. That began the wedding preparations that would happen the next year, when my parents moved to Wyoming to serve in a church there. At that time my parents still owned property in Kentucky, and still had some cattle that my uncle had cared for.
The day before our wedding, I was helping to round up one of the said cattle. It was being sold to pay for my reception, and that crazy cow was NOT going to settle down and get in that truck. It ran this way and that, and I, as the one guarding the gate to the road, was in her way. She decided she was just going to go through me.
I am thankful that my 19-year-old reflexes were good, and I jumped into the bramble next to the gate. Other than some scratches, I came out unscathed. And yes, the cow was sold. Can you believe a wedding reception could be paid for, in 1983, with the proceeds from selling one cow? Either beef was high at that time, or catering was low – and I think it’s that catering was just that much less expensive!
Speaking of being run down by animals, here is a scene from my debut book, Carolina Dream, which I think you’ll like! While Todd and I have known one another forever, my characters, Sarah and Jared haven’t met yet . . .
Excerpt from Carolina Dream:
After an hour on the beach, he gave up. She wasn’t coming. Of course, it was only eight o’clock. Maybe she wasn’t an early riser either. Heat rippled up from the sand. The sand crabs scrambled for shade as they burrowed in the sand. It always amazed him. But they had the right idea. He couldn’t dig into the sand, but he could jump in the ocean and cool off.
After his swim, he jogged down the beach and dried off enough to get into his car. He made his way to the steps of the boardwalk that traversed the dunes between beach and civilization. As he reached the top, a flurry of brindle fur and a happy tongue almost caught him unaware. He righted himself before he fell backward.
“Whoa! Slow down, there, buddy!” He laughed at the friendly pooch and looked up at his owner.
It was her.
And he couldn’t stop staring.
A flawless complexion, blue eyes—or were they green? Long hair pulled up on top of her head with a clip. A modest suit tantalized enough to make him know she was an attractive young lady. Attractive? More like beautiful. And she was, on some level, according to that nagging voice inside, the enemy.
Sarah’s face reddened as she pulled at the leash. “Oliver! I don’t know what’s wrong with him. Usually he’s suspicious of strange men, but he acts like he’s just found his best friend. Please excuse him.”
Jared found his voice. He swallowed thickly and smiled. “No apologies necessary. I’m a dog-lover myself, but I don’t have one right now. Always did as a kid, though.”
Sarah grinned. “You seem to know dogs. You found his favorite spot to be rubbed.”
Jared rubbed Oliver’s ears and chest vigorously, going for the spots that reduced the pup to a quivering mass of happiness. She was watching him curiously. Maybe her eyes were gray?
“You staying here at the Sandpiper?” He stood and stepped to one side to give her room to pass.
“Yes, we got here last night. And you?”
“No, I work around here. Just checking things out.” He avoided her eyes. He didn’t like lying to her. And he wasn’t. He was checking things out. Mainly her.
“It is. Listen, have a great stay, and don’t forget the sunscreen. Watch out for this guy. He seems to make friends easily.” He held his hand up and took his leave, while Sarah and Oliver made their way down the steps and into the sand.
About Regina: Regina Rudd Merrick began reading romance and thinking of book ideas as early as her teenage years when she attempted a happily-ever-after sequel to “Gone With the Wind.” That love of fiction parlayed into a career as a librarian, and she is currently the director of a small public library in Marion, KY. She began attending local writing workshops and continued to hone her craft by writing several short and novel-length fan-fiction pieces published online, where she met other authors with a similar love for story, a Christian worldview, and happily-ever-after. Married for 30+ years and active in their church, Regina and her husband have two grown daughters who share her love of music, writing, and the arts. Learn more and connect:
About the book – Carolina Dream: Sarah Crawford wants more from life than to attend the wedding of her ex-fiancée. An unexpected inheritance in South Carolina comes at the perfect time, just as Sarah is willing to use any excuse to get out of town.
When she meets potential business partner Jared Benton and discovers that a house is part of the inheritance, she is sure that God has been preparing her for this time through a recurring dream. But will a dream about an antebellum mansion, many rooms to be explored, and a man with dark brown eyes give her the confidence to take a leap of faith, leaving friends, family, and her job behind?
Can’t wait for the drawing? Get your copy now:
Question for Readers: Have you or someone you know had a too close encounter with an animal?