Shannon here: Regina Rudd Merrick shares the inspiration for her Contemporary Romance, Heart Restoration, plus a romantic excerpt, & chance to win a copy. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for winner’s choice of a print or e-book copy, U.S. only. Deadline: Oct 21st, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Regina:
I have a confession to make.
I have no memory of meeting my husband.
I’ve been told that very young Todd Merrick was at my parents’ wedding and that they waited a few minutes to start because his parents and their two preschool sons were running late.
There was never a time when I didn’t know Todd, but as a kid, he was the middle Merrick boy.
Later, I started noticing him at church youth group activities. When I was a freshman in high school, he was a senior. At school, he and one of his friends frequently let me cut in front of them in the lunch line.
He didn’t ask me out for a date until that summer. I still tease him, saying he wasn’t interested in dating a freshman, but a sophomore was okay.
By the time I was 18, we were engaged.
In Heart Restoration, a re-release with Scrivenings Press, and book one of the Renovations Inc. series, Lisa Reno and Nick Woodward have known one another since their teen years. Nick’s grandparents lived in the community where the Reno family resided, and he and Lisa’s older brother, Del, became best friends and dorm roommates at Murray State University.
Lisa had a huge crush on Nick when they were all in college together, but after Nick graduated, they lost touch.
I love to write stories where there is a little bit of a history. Like me looking on Todd as “the middle Merrick,” Lisa had looked upon Nick as “Del’s buddy.” She couldn’t imagine him being interested in her, and, until they met at a job site, Nick hadn’t thought about Lisa in a long time.
Here’s a bit from chapter one of Heart Restoration, when they first meet up.
Excerpt from Heart Restoration by Regina Rudd Merrick:
A young lady with a phone to her ear walked out the front door, onto the porch. She looked up from her call when she saw him coming toward her, waving her fingers. Her eyes widened with recognition.
Was that Lisa? He couldn’t tell. He hadn’t seen her since college. She’d been a couple of years behind them, so while he was living the high life of an upper-classman, she was keeping her nose to the grindstone taking classes and doing whatever it was artsy people did in their spare time. From what he remembered, she had looked fifteen at twenty and was constantly pushing her glasses up on her nose—a nose that was perpetually stuck in a book of some kind.
There was always something about her, though, that drew him. After he got to know her a little better, through Del, flirting with her on the quad at Murray State became a habit. She usually rolled her eyes and ignored him.
He caught himself raking his hand through his unruly hair. He needed a haircut. Looking down, he noticed the dried concrete on his boots he hadn’t noticed before. He could have at least put on his better pair, but it wasn’t like he wanted to impress anybody. It was his skills as a contractor they were looking for, not his appearance.
While he waited, he decided to take a closer look at the front porch. Spongy wood in places. Great. That didn’t bode well. Chances were they would end up ripping the whole porch off and starting over. More expense. This was why he dealt mainly with new construction.
It was her. Come on. Could seven years make this much difference? He remembered the auburn hair, but not the brilliant green eyes. “Lisa?”
She looked surprised, and a little flushed as she held out her hand and smiled. “I didn’t think you would remember me.”
He took her slender hand in his, surprised by the confident grip in such a soft hand. “Good to see you. Sure, I remember you. I almost . . .”
“Didn’t recognize me? I know. I get it all the time.” She shrugged. “No glasses.” She wrinkled her nose and laughed. “I wonder why Del didn’t tell me the contractor he’d hired was you.”
He lifted an eyebrow and smiled back. They both turned to face the house. “Looks like he’s tasked us with this gem of a place.” He glanced over at her. Her eyes were narrowed, and she had her index finger tapping on her chin as she gazed upon the dilapidated structure.
“He called it a ‘jewel in the rough.’” She turned to him. “You know, the more I look at it, the more I agree with him.”
“You’re so solemn about it.” He hoped his half-grin came off the way he intended.
“It’s a big job.” She stared a few seconds more. “But it’ll be worth it. With acreage, people will be jumping to buy this place.”
“Maybe. Or maybe it won’t be for sale.”
Question for Readers: The main character in Heart Restoration, Lisa Reno, left a great job working for a “Chip and Joanna” type television show, later going into business with her father and brother in RenoVations, Inc. If you’re a fan of DIY, how-to, or other self-help shows, what’s your favorite? Would you like to be the equivalent of “the homeowner” in one of these shows?
About Regina: Regina Rudd Merrick is a multi-published author, church musician, wife, mother, former librarian, lover of all things fun, beachy, and chocolate, and grateful follower of Jesus Christ. Married to her husband of nearly 40 years, she is the mother of two grown daughters, and lives in the small town of Marion, KY. Learn more & connect:
About the book – Heart Restoration:
For interior designer Lisa Reno things go from bad to worse when her contractor-brother falls off a ladder and breaks his leg. Now she has to deal with the past coming back to haunt her, an old house with a corpse in the creepy cellar, and her best friend trying her best to fix her up with any man that moves.
Nick Woodward is willing to do his old college roommate a favor−especially when it involves renovating his own inheritance. The last thing he wants is to get involved with anyone. When he lost his wife and unborn child so suddenly, he had made the decision to keep God and everyone else at arm’s length. So far, so good.
Ah, the difference a trip to a dingy basement makes.
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