by Maggie Jaimeson
Rachel Cullen grew up in Scotland with a fiddle in her hand from the age of four. She couldn't imagine life as anything but a musician. When her husband brought her to America she was immediately embraced by the Celtic and Bluegrass communities. But after her divorce, Rachel's life is a mess.
A year of trying to prove to herself that she's woman enough for any man, and then a vicious rape while on tour with the band, leaves Rachel reeling. When she meets Noel Kershaw, an English teacher who is poetry in motion, she is definitely attracted. But he has a young child and he's suffering from his own divorce. The last thing Rachel needs in life is more baggage.
First, Rachel must reconcile who she is, what she wants, and how to get there. Maybe then she'll know how to be a part of the family she's always wanted.
As she reached for the handle, the door opened and a little girl rushed out, maybe six or seven years old, with beautiful long blond hair caught up in a blue denim bow. She ran to a light blue sedan next to Rachel’s and giggled as she skipped through puddles circling the car. Rachel couldn’t help but smile at the child’s carefree innocence.
After three circles, the girl stopped at the back end of the car, cocked her head and waved two fingers at her. “Hi.”
“Um, hi.” Rachel raised her hand and waved back. “Did you forget somebody? Your mommy maybe?”
“Claire, I told you to stay close.”
At the sound of the tenor voice beside her, Rachel started. A man three to four inches taller than her had stepped out. In one hand he held several colorful ribbons attached to a bright pink, heart-shaped helium balloon that read Happy Birthday. He looked toward the car where the child was still giggling.
The little girl raced back. Skidding to a stop in front of Rachel, they bumped and Rachel teetered slightly toward the wall.
“Careful there.” A weathered hand reached toward her and wrapped around her elbow. His touch was softer than she expected, but her knees still locked, ready to spring if she needed to move fast. He held her up with one hand. Deep brown eyes, emphasized by his full head of short, wavy blonde hair, looked at her then turned toward the girl.”
“Apologize, Claire. You almost knocked her over.”
“I’m sorry.” A small hand lifted to touch her other arm.
“That’s okay. Really. I should have been paying more attention.” Rachel smiled and pointed to the balloon. “Latha breith.”
“Oh, I…” She had lapsed into Gaelic. Something she hadn’t done in public since Kavan left her almost three years ago. “I said ‘Happy Birthday.’”
Maggie will award one autographed cover flat to a randomly drawn commenter at each blog stop. In addition, she will award a $25 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner's choice) as a grand prize to one randomly selected commenter on this tour, and a $25 gift certificate to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner's choice) to a randomly drawn host. You must leave an email address to be entered into any of the drawings.