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If you could sum the book up in one sentence, what would you say?
Lark McGee and Miles Jenkins shared the painful experience of giving up a child, but without fanfare or effort they’re given a path to see their daughter, and if they have the courage, to grab their second chance with each other.
When Miles and Lark met as college students both confided their big career dreams. It was such a
pleasure to portray a guy who early in life chose to become a professional speaker/consultant. I’m
familiar with that life, so I know how much time speakers spend in airports and hotel rooms, with phones and laptops as their only companions.
“I so loved this story and I was pulling for Miles and Lark to not only get to meet their daughter, but to realize they were meant to be together. This is a heartwarming tale of love almost lost but found again. I highly recommend Girl In The Spotlight.”
What would life be without second chances? Pretty bleak, I’d say. I think most of us fall in love with second chance stories. And why not? It’s a universal theme in many ways, because all our lives we identify with the longing for second chances. People joke about Zog and Grog sitting around “the cave” or the campfire telling stories, but for as long as humans have been on the planet, we’ve be inspired by stories. Whether a particular story involves popular culture, folklore, or religion, the “plots” likely offers the characters second chances.
“Girl in the Spotlight by Virginia McCullough puts you right in the audience, sitting high up in the arena seating, experiencing the skating competitions along with the fictional spectators. You’ll hold your breath for every axel and lutz and salchow, and you’ll easily be able to picture the sparkling costumes and the ‘kiss-n-cry’ bench as we all wait for the scores. Though the pace is slow in some places and the story overall is light on romance, you’ll be emotionally invested in this compelling story from the very first chapter!”
Perrie Lynn skated to the center of the ice, and after one last quick pivot, she assumed her starting position in the center of the ice and the melody of Moonlight Sonata began.
Lark’s tears flowed freely. Miraculously, though, after the first couple of jumps her tears stopped. Along with all sense of time and any focus on technical elements. She lost herself in Perrie Lynn’s graceful journey across the ice and the triple jumps that brought outbreaks of applause. Maybe it was the lightness of her arm movements that enchanted Lark the most. No, the extension of her dramatic arabesques captured Lark’s attention.
When Perrie Lynn finished her final spin, Lark let her head drop against Miles’ shoulder. “Thank you for this.”
“Girl in the Spotlight was well written and the words flowed perfectly. I enjoyed getting to know Miles and Lark as well as there children. . . . The book was enjoyable, the characters truly loved the daughter they had been unable to watch grow. “
Detecting an edge of apprehension in her voice, he said, “Oh, Lark, it’s nothing bad. No need to worry.” He put his hand on his chest, hoping to slow the pounding of his heart. “It’s just that I believe it’s possible, not a certainty, but possible, our—our child, our daughter…is a figure skater. Sort of a rising star.”
A sharp intake of air. Then silence.
“I really enjoyed reading this book. It has a really sweet story that could very well be a true story. It is very real. . . . I would recommend this book to other readers. It is a clean sweet story. I enjoyed it very much.”
Whenever I’m asked about the broad themes of my novels, I quickly respond, “Hope, healing, and plenty of second chances.” GIRL IN THE SPOTLIGHT is no different. Lark and Miles earn their second chance in stages starting with hope. Lark never stopped hoping that one day she will learn what happened to the child she gave up, and maybe, just maybe, she’ll be give a chance to meet her. Miles hopes Lark will forgive him for not stepping up when they were young and faced with such a life-changing decision. It’s his biggest regret.
“I really felt like this was two books in one – love story meets long lost child story. It had the perfect balance of both stories – neither one dominated the other. This is the first time I have read a book by Virginia McCullough, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve heard from others that I would not be disappointed, and they were right! She has a charming way of telling a story that will tug at your emotions, yet leave you with a smile.”
Lark could probably calculate the exact number of days and hours that had passed since she’d murmured reassuring words to the tiny bundle in her arms. I’m so sorry, but it’s for the best, little one. She’d stared at the perfect little face one last time and drew her closer to her heart. I promise you’ll have a good life with people who will love you so, so much. They can give you what I could never hope to. A family.
So many all-time favorite movies have a second chance theme. Maybe this is why big fans have watched them multiple times. Here are a few of my favorites.
AMUSED BY HOW proud he was that he’d asked Lark out on a real date, Miles’s heart raced. Even his hands were clammy, like a teenager who knew that his date wasn’t just any girl. She was special. At some point, maybe after watching Perrie Lynn skate live for the first time, Miles was hit by how fast the weekend had passed. He’d wished he could have slowed it down, made it last.
“The girl is a beautiful skater,” Andi said. “From the flash I saw, you and Lark seemed like quite a couple, huddled together, all smiles. Is there something you’re not telling me? And what about Perrie Lynn’s mother? I heard she’s sick.”
A couple of my reader-writer friends have remarked about Perrie Lynn being so vibrant and real, even though she’s not “on stage” in the book. One friend said she found herself tense waiting for Perrie Lynn’s performance scores—just like the minutes of waiting during televised competitions! I like that—as far as I’m concerned, Perrie Lynn is out there living her life. So, even seeing her from afar, what do we know about her?
The kiss. It was all she’d thought about the last two days. She sat on her couch in the TV room with her feet tucked under her, warm in heavy wool socks. Her open tablet sat balanced on her lap. How delicious to be held in his arms. She shook her head—again—to concentrate on the article displayed on the screen. Normally, a piece on rare and virulent viruses captured her attention. Dawn even teased her about her fascination with medical research. But not that evening.
“The meaning of a second chance is personified in Virginia McCullough’s debut Harlequin Heartwarming novel! . . . The characters are well developed, their story is well thought out and leads us into the turmoil they are feeling from the first chapter. Ideally I would have wanted the ending to happen earlier in the book so we could have seen a little more of what happened after such a build-up, but overall, a great read and a satisfying resolution!”
“You can leave now, Lyle. I think you’ve done enough damage for one night.” She moved alongside Evan in the small space by the front door. Showing her alignment with her son was the only way to contain her rage at her ex-husband.
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
June 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming
The daughter they never knew
When Miles Jenkins sees the graceful young figure skater on TV, he can’t believe how much she resembles Lark McGee, the girl he dated briefly in college. Could this aspiring star be the child Lark gave up for adoption eighteen years ago? He has to find out.
Locating Lark ignites conflicting emotions in Miles—including regrets for what might have been and romantic feelings that take the two single parents by surprise. As they prepare to meet their daughter, this deeper connection between the two just might be the chance at love they never got.
1st Prize (US only): Tea & Contemplation, a collection of favorite things, starts with an uplifting message from “Seize the Day” Pop Open Cards. Fill a ceramic thermal mug to sip Lavender Chamomile Tea while you contemplate your ideas and dreams. Write your thoughts in a journal, whose guiding words are: When Your Heart Speaks… take good notes! A Wish pen is included. Finally, pick a place to display a large piece of gemmy rose quartz, a stone long linked to matters of the heart. It’s said when rose quartz is nearby, love (of all kinds) comes along to keep it company. These items will be arranged in a “keeper box” and delivered to your door.
2nd Prize (open internationally): You will receive a $35.00 Amazon eGift Card, and a digital copy of GIRL IN THE SPOTLIGHT, plus one digital copy of another of Virginia’s five award-winning novels—it’s your choice.