A secret Christmas homecoming, a blinding snowstorm, and in the course of one night two shattered lives will be changed forever.
Nineteen-year-old Emily Haynes had lost almost everything she loved. Relying on what seems to be guidance from her invalid father, she returns to her past in hopes of finding some sign toward the future. What begins as a joyous homecoming quickly turns into a nightmare when a badly injured stranger stumbles on the scene, his brief presence threatening to alter everything she believes about herself and the plan for her life. A less determined girl might have been shaken by such an experience, but not Emily. She is certain she’s made the right choice, so certain that in the following three years, she almost convinces herself.
Super-star violinist Stani Moss appeared to have everything, fame, fortune and a career guaranteed to bring more of the same, until one hasty decision placed it all in jeopardy. Terrified and confused, he struggles not only to recover his former skill, but to find answers to the questions which haunt him. Throughout his slow journey back, one image lingers in his buried memories of that fateful night—the vision of a girl he’s never met. The journey will eventually lead him to Emily, and beyond that day, everything about his life will be transformed.
Set in the years around 1970, Hearts Unfold begins the saga of two people whose paths should never have crossed, who defy the odds to create a life they can share. The first of four volumes in the Miracle at Valley Rise Series, this novel could stand alone as a triumphant tale of romance, but there’s much more to the story, as Emily and Stani reveal their pasts and strive to bridge the distance between their worlds. Follow their progress, be entertained by their adventures, and perhaps be inspired by their unwavering belief in the transforming power of love.
Targeted Age Group:: 18-100
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Many years ago, when I first aspired to write, I had in mind a story of two people from different worlds who overcame those differences to not only fall in love, but cast a wide net of positive change as a result of their relationship. That germ of a story became the four books of the Valley Rise series, which begins with Hearts Unfold.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
While I may have a sketch of a character in mind, once the story begins to take shape, I typically follow "their" lead. My characters tend to tell their own story, and I try to remain true to the personalities they reveal to me.
Gradually the clouds lifted, and, as is often the case after a violent storm, the sun shone brightly in a clear blue sky. Emily's spirits began to lift, as melting snow dripped from the roof and songbirds took to the air in search of their breakfast. Her only hope now was that someone out searching would see the smoke from her chimney. Jack would most certainly come to investigate that.
She stayed on the floor near Stani, watching as he continued in what appeared to be a deep, peaceful sleep. He never stirred, and the frown of pain had not crossed his face for a long time now. His breathing was regular and his pulse was strong. His condition seemed stable, she assured herself. Touching his cheek, which was beginning to show a shadow of rusty beard, she wondered again what he would look like, awake and smiling. He was as familiar to her now as any old friend would be. After watching him for so many hours, his seemed to be the face of someone she had always known, and most definitely someone she would never forget.
Late in the morning, her waiting was finally rewarded by the appearance of the big brown sheriff's cruiser approaching the gate. In her excitement, she flung open the front door and ran out onto the porch, waving her arms and calling out to the tall man wading toward her through the snow.
Jack looked none too happy to see her. His first words were hardly welcoming. “What on earth are you doing here?”
“Never mind that now!” Grabbing his hand, she pulled him through the front door.
His gaze went immediately to Stani, and he stopped in his tracks, pulling back on her hand. And then Jack did something he’d never done before. His eyes wide with horror and his face actually turning red, he shouted at her. “What in the name of all that’s holy is going on up here?”
She raised her own voice, tears of frustration stinging her eyes. “Stani Moss! You're searching for him, right? The car accident on the Charlotte Springs road?” Jack was supposed to know all this, not stand there asking questions!
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