World War II has ended and the soldiers are coming home. After years of following her crop worker father, motherless Claire Flanagan is also coming home. If she can keep her father in one place long enough, she plans to follow her dreams to Hollywood. Until she meets Benjamin.
Benjamin Russell has been working since he was fifteen to support his mother and siblings. What he most wants in life is to own a construction business and take care of the family his father abandoned. The last thing he expects is to fall for his younger sister’s best friend.
Life, however, throws cruel twists and turns into the path of romance. And when an unrequited love seeks revenge against Claire, and Benjamin learns his ex-girlfriend is pregnant, will lost dreams of a future together be the only thing they have left?
Targeted Age Group:: Adult/YA/NA
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
My mother was the inspiration for this book. I grew up listening to her stories of her life as a young woman in the 1940s. Hopping freight trains with my grandfather, no mother, and finally settling in Phoenix, her stories were quite colorful.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
My mother’s stories of her life in 1945 Phoenix were so vivid I couldn’t help but use her, my father, and their families as models. Of course, I changed many aspects and added some events that never happened, but the characters are very similar to many of those my mother knew.
“But…but you can’t love Susan.” My voice, soft as a whisper, didn’t betray the rising fear boiling up from the pit of my stomach.
He gripped my arms with emphasis. “No, I don’t.”
My stomach calmed a bit, the fear at a simmer. “Does she love you?” I had to convince him his thinking had clearly gotten off course.
“No. I mean I don’t think so.”
“Is she demanding you love her?” Love was everything. Without love, this wasn’t our problem.
His hesitation cheered me on. My panic churned barely below the surface as I led him down the path of reason. “Well, then, Benjamin, why—”
“Claire, she’s pregnant. I’ll have to marry her.”
“Marry?” I choked on the word. Fear and panic erupted. “Oh, God, no. Benjamin!” The tears toppled and flooded my cheeks. “This is her problem.”
“You know it isn’t, Claire.” His words were thick and strained. “I have to take responsibility.”
“No, Benjamin, no!” I slapped my palms to his chest as if I could stop this madness with a physical barrier. “No, you don’t.”
He encircled my waist, gently caressed, but held me firm until my tantrum played out.
I folded into his chest, but my anger still had some steam. I balled one hand into a fist and hit his chest. “Why? Why do you always have to do the right thing? Why?” I swiped away tears so I could see his reaction when I glared into his face.
His chest heaved as he stared into my hostility with calmness. “You wouldn’t love me if I didn’t.”
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