Excerpt: ROBIN’S REWARD by JUNE McCRARY JACOBS
ROBIN’S REWARD by
JUNE McCRARY JACOBS
Bonita Creek’s librarian Robin Bennett is heartbroken after being abandoned by her husband, Thomas. The mysterious and handsome Jeff Clarke arrives unexpectedly and touches Robin’s life with his wit and warmth. Then, without warning, Jeff’s harsh words and abrasive actions scare her off, and Robin’s hope of finding true love withers again.
Just when it seems Robin and Jeff might have a future, Susan Stinson, whose cruel taunting has plagued Robin since they met as young teens, decides Jeff should be hers, not Robin’s. Susan’s anger and jealousy escalate dangerously. Her vindictiveness threatens the foundation of Jeff and Robin’s young relationship.
Robin’s journey through the peaks and valleys of her life meanders along the twists and turns of new challenges. Is a relationship which began with both parties harboring secrets destined to survive? Can they move past their troubles and the obstacles in their path to find love and happiness together? When their pasts rear their ugly heads, Jeff and Robin must use their faith to remain strong and true. But will it be enough for them to embrace a life of love, trials, and blessings . . . together?
“Robin’s Reward, a sweet romance with great characters, is as refreshing as a walk among flowers.”
Author Rebecca H. Jamison, Sense & Sensibility: A Latter-Day Tale.
I’m as hot and sticky as the center of a freshly-roasted campfire
marshmallow, Miss Praise.” Perspiration trickled past Robin’s sunburned neck, under her
collar, and down her back. Her blouse was plastered to her skin.
“I’m not feeling very feminine or lady-like in this condition, if you catch my drift. This
brings us to my next question. What was I thinking starting up with this garden renovation
project on the hottest March afternoon ever recorded in Bonita Creek? Am I nuts? Wait—don’t
Some sympathy from Miss Praise, like purring or even winding herself around Robin’s legs,
would’ve been comforting. Instead, the elderly tabby was dozing comfortably in her cozy quiltlined
basket on the shaded porch. Robin was drained from tangling with her vintage hydrangea bush for the past four hours.
She’d read gardening was great exercise, but it gave Robin’s thoughts too many chances to
wander. She dreaded those dark, dreary spaces in her mind permanently occupied by unhappy
memories and heart-wrenching regrets. Since she wasn’t accomplishing much anyway, she
released her shovel to take a break with a refreshing glass or two of her favorite iced tea. She
straightened up and stretched her aching arms over her head.
“I’m parched, how about you? Want something cold to drink?” She spoke in the direction of
the faded gray cat. Apparently, Miss Praise had heard enough of Robin’s whining. The cat
yawned, stretched, flicked her tail, and hopped daintily out of her basket. She lumbered down the
brick path to seek refuge in the peaceful back garden. Naturally, Robin hadn’t expected Miss
Praise to respond, but talking to the cat helped her feel connected to her Grandma Estelle. The
older woman had passed on a few years ago and Robin still ached for her grandmother’s
presence. She kneaded her fatigued lower back with her knuckles and sighed deeply.
As she untied the ribbon of her straw hat and shook out her damp curly hair, Robin sensed
someone’s gaze. A prickly feeling caused her to rotate her body where she came face-to-face
with an unfamiliar—but attractive—man. A hint of amusement lit up his clean-shaven face as he
stood on the walkway in front of her garden gate. When the stranger chuckled, Robin’s damp
cheeks flamed scarlet. She wondered how long he’d been standing there listening to her grunt
and groan and, well, whine.
Since he couldn’t possibly have seen Miss Praise, he probably assumed Robin had been
talking to herself. Swell. Just another example of the truckload of awkward moments in life when
Robin wished she could vanish on demand. Speaking through clenched teeth, she attempted to
use humor to cover up her self-consciousness.
“Instead of breaking your neck staring at me, how about making yourself useful by helping
me dig up this stubborn hydrangea?” Her embarrassment grew when the stranger’s sole response
was a chorus of boisterous laughter. Lord, please get me out of here—now! Robin’s humiliation
took over her common sense, and her sole goal was to flee. Grabbing her garden hat, she
slammed it onto the gate post as she wrenched off her work gloves and tossed them on the
ground near her birdbath. The sound of the man’s hearty laughter echoing in her ears brought her
lifelong dislike of being the object of teasing and taunting racing to the surface.
Like most school children, she’d suffered through her share of teasing and even some
bullying. Truth be told, she was still occasionally bullied by a former classmate, Susan Stinson,
almost ten years after they’d graduated. Robin had expected—and hoped—in her current stage of
life, halfway between twenty-five and thirty, she would’ve overcome this affliction. The
scorching feeling in her cheeks told her otherwise. I so do not want to deal with this guy.
Attempting to give the illusion of self-confidence, Robin lengthened her spine and held her
chin high as she stalked toward her cottage. In the safety of her cottage’s interior she’d find the
solace and peace she was seeking. Far too often in the past she’d allowed her pride and
confidence to be battered by a male. Okay, one male in particular. She vowed to handle her
reaction in the current situation differently. She was determined to spare herself one more
millisecond of humiliation. Today I’m going to stand up to my tormentors. All right, so maybe
this stranger isn’t exactly tormenting me. Still, everyone knows laughing at a lady isn’t polite.
Robin wasn’t going to stand there and let some stranger, however handsome he might be—
and this guy was definitely above-average in the looks department—laugh at her in her own
garden. Hot, briny tears stung her eyes. Time seemed to slow down, and she couldn’t make it to
the front door fast enough. Embarrassing incidents from her not so distant past charged to the
forefront of her mind as she made her way up the front porch steps.
LINK TO GIVEAWAY FOR A SIGNED PAPERBACK COPY OF ‘ROBIN’S REWARD’:
June is giving away two signed copies of ‘Robin’s Reward’ on her website. (United States residents only. No purchase necessary.) The Rafflecopter contest will end on May 31st, and June would like to invite readers to enter for a chance to win one of these paperbacks. Here’s the link to the entry form: http://www.junemccraryjacobs.com/robins-reward-autographed-copy-giveaway/
BUY LINKS FOR ‘ROBIN’S REWARD’ :
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Award-winning author, June McCrary Jacobs, was the winner of Cedar Fort Publishing’s 2013 Holiday Tale Contest for her debut novella, ‘A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom’. ‘Robin’s Reward’ is her first full-length novel, and is set in her favorite location in California—the Mendocino coastal region. This book is the first installment of the ‘Bonita Creek Trilogy’.
June’s original sewing, quilting, and stitchery designs have been published in over one hundred books, magazines, and blogs in the past few years. When she’s not writing, reading, or sewing, June enjoys cooking, walking, and visiting art and history museums. She also enjoys touring historic homes and gardens and strolling around the many historic Gold Rush towns in the Sierra Nevada foothills. In the summertime you can find June at a variety of county fairs and the California State Fair admiring the sewing projects, quilts, and handiwork other inspired seamstresses, quilters, craftspeople, and artists have created.
CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:
June enjoys connecting with readers, authors, aspiring writers, bloggers, designers, sewers, quilters, and crafters. Please connect with June at the following platforms:
Website & Blog: http://www.junemccraryjacobs.com
Amazon.com Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/june-mccrary-jacobs
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/June-McCrary-Jacobs