Tuesday, June 23, 2020

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A Summer of Surprises by Judith Keim - Book Blitz



Romance, Women's Fiction
A Seashell Cottage Book
Release Date: June 23, 2020
Publisher: Wild Quail Publsihing
 
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Jill Conroy is tricked by her sister into becoming the housekeeper and cook
for the summer at Seashell Cottage where Greg Campbell and his nephew,
Brody, have been hired to do maintenance projects on the house. Annoyed at
first, Jill soon realizes how wonderful it is to be away from her home in
New York and the memories of her deceased, emotionally abusive
husband.
Soon the magic of the beach heals Jill enough for her to decide to move to
Florida permanently to make a new life for herself. Her part-time work at a
summer camp and the promise of a new job as a third-grade teacher in the
fall make it seem as if her future is set. But a visit from her sister,
followed by her mother, reveals secrets that surprise them all. Jill learns
to accept the idea of love not only from Brody but from his daughter, Kacy,
as the summer brings even more surprises.

 

Other Books in the Seashell Cottage Series:

A Christmas Star
A Seashell Cottage Book
Publisher: Wild Quail Publsihing
Published: November 2018

Two years ago, Noelle North’s then-fiancé left her waiting at
the church on Christmas—her wedding day and birthday. Now, she knows
she cannot endure another holiday season at home in Boston. At the urging of
four women at the assisted-living community where she serves as health
director, Noelle decides to rent Seashell Cottage on the Gulf Coast of
Florida for the holidays. She meets Silas Bellingham, the cutest
seven-year-old boy she’s ever seen, and his great-grandmother, Althea.
Noelle discovers Althea’s caretaker has been abusing her and goes into
action, ending up with the temporary care of both Althea and Silas. Becoming
part of the Bellingham household has an entirely different series of
challenges when it comes to Althea’s grandsons, Jake and Brett, who
are having problems of their own with hotels to run and their parents
missing in a plane crash. But after sparring with her, Silas’ father,
Jake, realizes Noelle is just what he and his family need, and when she
finds the perfect Christmas star for Silas, they both know he’s
right.

 
 

Change of Heart
A Seashell Cottage Book
Publisher: Wild Quail Publsihing
Published: June 2019

Emerson “Em” Jordan always wanted a Valentine’s Day
wedding. But after being dumped by her boyfriend, she spends the holiday at
Seashell Cottage on the Gulf Coast of Florida with Devin Gerard, a family
friend who has no interest in her or any other woman and is instead
concentrating on his pediatric medical practice and continuing medical
missions in Costa Rica.
Em, who’s always wanted a large family, doesn’t mind his
disinterest. At thirty-two, she’s decided she doesn’t need a
husband to have a child or to adopt one. First, she’s going to fulfill
her dream of setting up her own landscape design business in upstate New
York and has promised to continue to help run her grandmother’s flower
shop.
It isn’t until Em and Devin become friends that Em realizes she might
want more than friendship from him. But with his work in Miami and Costa
Rica and her busy life in New York, it’s out of the question until
something happens that changes everything, even a couple of hearts.

 

 
 

Excerpt
 
CHAPTER ONE

Jillian Conroy listened to her sister, Cristal’s, voice on her
cellphone and took a deep breath.  A call from her sister was always a
surprise.

“So, start all over again, Cristal, and tell me exactly what it is
you want me to do.”

“It’s easy, Jill. My friend, Hope Thomason, now owns the
Seashell Cottage on the Gulf Coast of Florida, and she just needs someone to
live at the cottage for the summer while we do our European tour, the one
we’ve been talking about for years.”

“That’s it?” It didn’t sound like something
difficult. In fact, it sounded like a great way to escape the memories of
the past, thought Jill. School would be out in another week, and she
didn’t have any exciting plans for her summer break from teaching.
Maybe some extended time on the Gulf Coast would do her good. But every time
she tried to do something for her sister, it cost her emotionally, and
often, financially. A requested lunch date would end up with Jill paying for
it. What was supposed to be a fun event of shopping turned into a nightmare
when Cristal pouted that the dress Jill bought was the one she wanted. Their
relationship had always bordered on the toxic.

“There’s one more thing. A friend of Hope’s family, Greg
Campbell, is an older man who’s agreed to do some work on the cottage.
He’s staying in one of the guest rooms for a few weeks until the work
is done.”

“An older man, you say?”
“Yes. He and Hope’s father are friends. They’re the same
age.”

Jill let out a sigh of relief. Too many friends had been pushing her to
start dating again. She had no interest in doing so. Not after Jay’s
death two years ago.

“Think about it. I’ll call you tonight for your answer.”
Cristal cut off the call before Jill could ask any more questions.

 Jill sat in a chair and stared out the window of the kitchen inside
the small bungalow she called home in Ellenton, a small town in upstate New
York. She should’ve sold it months ago. The memories she held of her
life in the house weren’t pleasant. She’d thought by clearing
Jay’s things out of the house following his automobile accident,
she’d be able to chase away the unhappiness she’d known with
him.  But now the space just seemed empty. And lonely.

Her thoughts settled on her sister. Three years older than she, Cristal was
the beauty of the family. Their mother had declared to anyone who would
listen that Cristal got her beautiful features, naturally blonde hair, and
bright blue eyes from a relative of hers, while Jillian looked like the
Davis side of the family. The comparison was painful. Without the highlights
she had to add every few months, Jillian’s hair was a dishwater tan.
Her hazel eyes held no trace of blue. Worst of all, Cristal’s tall,
willowy figure seemed to taunt Jill’s shorter, curvy shape. It was a
bad match-up all around. If it weren’t so much like a well-known
storybook scenario, it would be almost comical.

Restless, Jill got up and paced the kitchen. It wasn’t their
different looks that had made her relationship with Cristal so difficult. It
was Cristal’s tendency to manipulate others in order to get her own
way. Jill knew how foolish it was to keep old wounds stored inside, but
every once in a while, one poked through the shell she kept around herself.
How could she forget that Cristal stole her date in college, the one guy
she’d dreamed would be hers forever? It was just one of the ways
Cristal had hurt her through the years. A snort of disgust left Jill’s
mouth. She might not have even paid attention to Jay except Cristal thought
he was a hottie. How was that for stupid rivalry?

Before she could go any deeper with that thought, the phone rang. Jill knew
who it was before she even checked Caller ID. Her mother, Valerie Davis, had
a nose for trouble. No doubt Cristal had phoned her for support.

“Hello, Mom,” Jill said without enthusiasm.
“Hi, honey. Cristal called to tell me that she’s arranged for
you to have a very nice summer break. She’s so thoughtful that
way.”

“She asked me to do her a favor so she and her friend can travel to
Europe,” Jill said calmly, still uncertain as to whether she should go
ahead with the idea or even what it entailed. 

“Well, if you don’t do it, I’m sure they can find someone
else to stay at the cottage. It sounds lovely. You should be grateful to
Cristal for thinking of you,” chided her mother. “A whole summer
to relax.”

It would be useless to argue. “Maybe you’re right,” said
Jill. “I could use the break to get away.” The idea suddenly
appealed to her. This change in her normal routine might give her the
opportunity to think things through, make some major decisions about her
life, give her a fresh start. God knew she’d been in an emotional rut
even before Jay had been killed.

“Splendid,” her mother said with satisfaction. “I’m
glad you’ll help your sister out. It would mean so much to her. She
and Hope have been planning this summer tour for a long time, and poor
Cristal has been working very hard.”

“You mean as a hostess at the club in Miami?”
“Now, Jillian, she does the best she can, and with her looks, she
doesn’t need to spend her time teaching school.”

“Oh? Because I teach school …” Jill stopped herself. She
didn’t like the person she became when dealing with her family. Only
her father had accepted her for who she was, and he’d died several
years ago.

“I didn’t mean that the way it sounded, Jillian,” her
mother said with a note of apology.

“Look, I have to go,” Jill said. “I’ll let you know
what I decide.”

“Please do. I care about both of you and hope that someday you girls
will get along.”

Jill sighed. “Goodbye, Mom.” Though the day was ruined by the
familiar routine with her mother, the idea of escaping to a place far away
became tantalizing.

Later, while looking up information online about the Seashell Cottage, Jill
filled with excitement. The pictures of it were lovely. It was not simply a
cottage; it was a beautiful, three-bedroom, three-bath house that sat
overlooking a wide, sandy beach. The house even had a screened-in
pool.

Before she could change her mind or overwork the thought that something
must be wrong if her sister was involved, Jill punched in Cristal’s
cell number and, when prompted, left a message.

“Hi, Cristal. Jill here. I’ve decided to stay at Seashell
Cottage for the summer so you and Hope can travel. At the end of next week,
when school is out, I’ll drive down to Florida. I should be there by
June 8th and can stay until late August. Let me know if those dates work
with you and Hope.” Hating confrontation, she paused and took a deep
breath. “And, Cristal, thanks for thinking of me.”

That evening Cristal called. The noise of music and partying in the
background made it difficult to hear, but the message did get through that
Cristal was thrilled Jill would stay at the cottage. “You’ll
see. This summer is going to be good for you, Jilly. For both of us,
really.”

“I hope so,” said Jill honestly. She was more than ready for a
change.


About the Author
Judith Keim enjoyed her childhood and young-adult years in Elmira, New
York, and now makes her home in Boise, Idaho, with her husband and their two
dachshunds, Winston and Wally, and other members of her family.

While growing up, she was drawn to the idea of writing stories from a young
age. Books were always present, being read, ready to go back to the library,
or about to be discovered. All in her family shared information from the
books in general conversation, giving them a wealth of knowledge and vivid
imaginations.

A hybrid author who both has a publisher and self-publishes, Ms. Keim
writes heart-warming novels about women who face unexpected challenges, meet
them with strength, and find love and happiness along the way. Her
best-selling books are based, in part, on many of the places she's lived or
visited and on the interesting people she's met, creating believable
characters and realistic settings her many loyal readers love. Ms. Keim
loves to hear from her readers and appreciates their enthusiasm for her
stories.


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