Christian Inspirational Romance Fiction
Cami Richardson is good at chasing away the men in her life: first Gavin Kinkaid, a former classmate she’d helped to bully, and later, her husband who left her widowed and a single mom. Now all she wants is to bring a smile back to her eight-year-old son. What she doesn’t expect is for Gavin to become her new neighbor.
Gavin wants to settle down after serving in the Air Force and mend the separation between him and his dad. What he didn’t count on is his changing feelings when he sees Cami as a kind woman instead of his former adversary.
When Cami’s son blindsides them both during the Christmas season, is their reunion at risk or will it grow stronger?
Who might enjoy this book?
Readers from their 20s on up, especially single-parents who wonder if they will ever find love again, and parents/grandparents who have children who are bully-victims or whose children are bullies.
What inspired you to write it?
–Many people experience a surge of love and forgiveness during the Christmas holiday season but often forget that our Father wants us to love year round. And by love, this means all others.
–One of the themes of this story is forgiveness—not only forgiving others who have wronged us, but also ourselves who have wronged others. As my characters experience, it’s one thing to make amends, but one must also make amends into amens!
–Similar to the loving year round theme mentioned above, it really amounts to: To love someone with all of your heart is the only thing that matters in this world.
–The story explores the price of bullying—and what happens if one chooses not to end the physical/emotional violence. As a child I was bullied and had to overcome the anguish.
The chink of glass shattering zoomed upstairs. In her bedroom Cami Richardson jumped and brushed against the curio shelf lined with her favorite trinkets. Her great-aunt Fran’s beloved ceramic and glass music box flew from her hands. She gasped as the antique box struck the corner of the bureau and shattered into countless pieces on the bare oak floor, mimicking the crash below. Big chunks. Small shards. No matter. Her son came first.
With a sprint worthy of any athlete’s admiration, she barreled into the living room lit only by the setting sun. “Danny? Are you okay?”
“It’s him, Mom.” Eight-year-old Danny crouched on his knees before the picture window. He peered out between the cutout Christmas tree and snowmen stencils they’d decorated with earlier to add cheer to the otherwise gloomy November day.
“Who?” She craned her neck for a look over Danny’s shoulder. The neighbors’ houses all appeared the same. No apparent activity raised any suspicions, not that she expected trouble. The cluster of 1980s-built houses, modest brick and wood-shingle structures that whispered a silent welcome, sat on a maple-lined block. Both hard-working parents and retirees enjoyed and maintained its tranquility.
Danny shot her a quizzical look then returned to staring out the window. “It’s the same guy I saw at Friends.”
“I don’t see anyone, hon.” She switched on the lamp on the end table. The other lamp scattered in broken pieces on the living room floor evidently was the noise she’d heard minutes ago. She’d deal with the damage later.
“Oh, Mom. Now I can’t see out.”
She sat beside her son. “Let’s calm down.”
“I can’t. He’s looking at the house for sale.”
“Lots of people have looked at that place. What’s different about this man?”
Danny sank below the window ledge, bobbing up every few seconds for a glance.
“Hey, my candy kiss, tell me what’s up.”
Danny slid fully onto the sofa and tucked his feet under him. “I know it’s him. He talked with the director. I was in the back room, so I don’t think he saw me.”
Cami wrapped an arm around her little boy. Her mind raced as she shifted through the possibilities at Friends. Modeled after the nationwide Big Brothers Big Sisters, the town’s program provided an adult relationship to children in need of either an older sibling or parental figure. “Is he the one taking Owen’s place?”
Danny nodded into her side. “That’s what the director said, but you have to say yes.”
Ah. It was making sense now. No big bad man.
“What’s this person’s name?”
Danny shrugged. “I forget.”
“Owen had to move to Texas, hon.”
“But I want him back. Texas is far from here.”
At times, everywhere seemed far from Kindred Lake, Pennsylvania. Yet, for a woman who craved to forget her past, she’d chosen to live in her childhood town. Go figure!
“Owen was a nice Friend.” She gently swept away the hair that had fallen across his eyes. “Remember, Owen’s planning to phone once he settles down.”
“Owen was the coolest. I don’t want this new guy to be my Friend.”
“Why not give it your best shot?”
“I don’t want to.”
She glanced at the mantel over the fireplace at the framed eight by ten photograph of her, Todd, and Danny taken at Cape Cod the summer before Todd died. Danny looked just like his dad with his sandy blond hair, blue eyes, and a matching dimple to the right of his mouth. Her precious reminder of Todd. She swallowed hard, pushing aside her own discomfort.
“He must be pretty awesome to want to be a Friend. And you know, buddy. The director only allows nice people to volunteer. It’s like me at work. I choose only the best teachers for Little Bears.”
“Absolutely. I take good care of my preschoolers, like the director at Friends looks out for all the girls and boys.”
“Gavin. That’s his name.”
Her neck pinched. “Gavin?”
“Mom? You just made a weird face.”
Definitely a strong, kind of enchanting name, but not common. She’d known one Gavin. Gavin Kinkaid. Funny how that name still propelled her down the old guilt trip road. This man couldn’t have been the same person she’d graduated high school with fourteen years ago. Back then she was beyond thrilled they’d gone their separate ways. The relief he experienced must have transformed his whole world. She couldn’t blame him.
About the Author
Elaine Stock is the author of the novels Her Good Girl, winner of the 2018 American Fiction Awards in the Christian Inspirational category, and Always With You, which won the 2017 Christian Small Publishers Association Book of the Year Award in fiction. And You Came Along, a novella, released in December 2017. Her novels fuse romance, family drama and faith in a clean fiction style. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association. In addition to Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads, she hangs out on her active blog, Everyone’s Story, dedicated to uplifting and encouraging all readers through the power of story and hope.
Born in Brooklyn, NY, Elaine has now been living in upstate, rural New York with her husband for more years than her stint as a NYC gal. She enjoys long walks down country roads, visiting New England towns, and of course, a good book.
Books by Elaine