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Against the Mark

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A Song for My Mother

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Magnificent Passage

 

 

 

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THE CHRISTMAS CLOCK
 

Sylvia Winters returns to her hometown where eight years ago she broke her engagement to Joe Dixon.  Stricken with cervical cancer, Syl moved away for treatment but never told Joe the truth.  To heal the pain of his fianceís imagined betrayal, Joe turned to drinking and accidentally killed a man.  Now Joe is out of prison and Syl is back in town but it will take a miracle to restore their lost love.

 

Lottie Sparks and her grandson, Teddy, are also in town.  Eight-year old Teddy lives with Lottie, his only living relative.  Teddy loves his grandmother and for Christmas, he desperately wants to buy her the old Victorian clock she adores in the window of Tremontís Antiquesóa clock that vividly reminds her of her childhood.  But the memory is soon to fade along with all the rest as her Alzheimerís advances.

 

Summer turns to fall and Lottie worsens. With winter approaching, will a Christmas miracle be enough to bring the people of Dreyerville hope, love, and redemption?

 

AGAINST THE MARK - book trailer

 

 

 

  AGAINST THE MARK Excerpt

 Sylvia Winters was going home. She had only been back to the small Michigan town of Dreyerville once in the past eight years. Her motherís funeral had demanded a return, but she had left the following day. Only a few close friends had attended the brief, graveside service held at the Greenhaven Cemetery. Marsha Winters had started drinking the day her husband disappeared. Abandoned with a month-old baby in a ramshackle house at the edge of town, she took up the bottle and didnít put it down for twenty years. Neither she nor Syl ever saw Sylís father again.

          Times had been hard back then, but the years Syl had spent in the charming rural community surrounded by forested, rolling hills held memories she cherished. She was a good student, and she was popular. In high school, a glowing future spread out before her: a scholarship to college and a career in nursing, a husband and children, the sort of life Syl had always dreamed of and never had.

          But life was never predictable, she had learned, and often times cruel. At nineteen, during her first year at Dreyerville Community College, Syl had fallen in love. She and Joe Dixon, the schoolís star quarterback, were engaged to be married the summer of the following year. Syl couldnít imagine ever being happier.

          Then her world came crashing down around her, and all of her dreams along with it. A routine doctorís appointment had brought news so grim that the week before the ceremony, Syl called off the wedding. She packed her belongings that same afternoon and left for Chicago.

          If it hadnít been for her motherís sister, Bessie, Syl wasnít sure she would have made it. Aunt Bess and Sylís dearest friend, Mary McGinnis Webster, had been responsible for getting her through the most difficult time of her life.

          But things were different now.

          Syl studied the double yellow line in the middle of the two-lane highway leading into Dreyerville. The air conditioner hummed inside the car, while outside, the temperature was hot and a little humid this late in the summer. Dense growths of leafy green trees lined both sides of the road, and a narrow stream wove its way through the grasses, bubbling and frothing in places, lazy and meandering in others.

          As she drove her newly washed white Honda Civic toward the turn onto Main Street, a feeling of homecoming expanded in her chest. She recognized Barnettís Feed and Seed, just down the road from Murdockís Auto Repair at the edge of town. Making a left onto Main, she spotted the old domed courthouse built in 1910 and the ornate clock tower in the middle of the grassy town square. A little farther down the street, Culverís Dry Cleaning held the middle spot in the long, two-story brick building that filled the block on the left, and there was Tremontís Antiques, right next to Brennerís Bakery.

          Sylvia smiled. The apartment she had just rented sat above the garage at Doris Culverís house. Doris worked at Brennerís Bakery, had for years. The middle-aged woman was practically a fixture behind the counter of the shop.

          Sylís friend Mary had found her the apartment. A job as a nurse in a local doctorís office had recently appeared in the employment section of the Dreyerville Morning News, and Mary had convinced her to send in an application. After flying out for an interview, Sylvia had gotten the job.

          She was coming home at last. She wasnít sure what sort of life she could make for herself in the town she once had fled, but something told her coming back was the only way she could conquer the demons that had haunted her for the past eight years.

 

 

 

 

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Kat Martin, bestselling author of romance novels