Published by esKape Press on November 25th 2018
The Fearful Heart:
The heart must be protected at all costs... but will Cassidy be able to afford the price? Cassidy has distanced herself from childhood friend, Tristan. She’s moved on from their days of best friend-hood and is attending college. And dating one of the most eligible males on campus. Life couldn’t be better. Really. Tristan has devoted himself to Cassidy since they were children together. But no matter what he did, she’s never treated him like more than her best friend. He knows they can have something deeper. If only he can find the key to unlocking her fearful heart.
Doctoral student Hannah Wagganer entertains dreams of teaching at a large university and leaving her hometown of Glen Arbor behind. That is until Jasper Morgan, the new mail carrier, arrives in town. Not only does he set Hannah’s heart a flutter, but he has an instant bond with her cat, Jingles.
Preparing for the church candlelight Christmas Eve service and running the family store, Hannah continues to bump into Jasper—and the prying eyes of the locals who suspect there’s more going on than business as usual.
Blessings and suspicions abound when an anonymous donor pays to have the church furnace repaired, and other locals suddenly find solutions to their problems. Is it coincidental, or the work of a secret angel?
Professor Hannah Wagganer spends her days teaching and her nights dating Glen Arbor’s new mail carrier, Jasper Morgan. Not only does he spark Hannah’s heart, but he has become best friends with her cat, Jingles.
As Hannah prepares for the church Valentine’s Day potluck and makes cards for local veterans, her relationship with Jasper takes a detour when a snowstorm hits town and she seeks refuge at his cottage. While there, Jasper is a warm and gracious host, but at the same time, he's turned as cold as the February wind. Doubt creeps in, leaving Hannah worrying that she’ll end up spending another holiday alone.
Once again, blessings and suspicions abound when an anonymous donor pays to have the church pipes repaired and other locals suddenly find solutions to their problems. Is it coincidental or the work of a secret valentine?
The Fearful Heart
When he removed the twenty-dollar bill, two photos spilled out, fluttering to Cassidy’s lap. She looked at them while he paid for the drinks. One of the photos was her sixth grade school picture. It was absolutely ugly. Her braces glinted a reflection of the flash, a mop of curls surrounded her face, and a giant red pimple graced her chin. The pink shirt with big ruffles and pouffy sleeves didn’t exactly help her appearance. The photo was worn around the edges and smeared in one corner with dried mud.
“For you,” Tristan said, handing her the steaming cup of hot chocolate. He reached past her and handed another cup to Keefe. “My treat.”
Cassidy lifted the photo for Tristan to see, thankful Emma seemed too distracted with snapping pictures of her brother to notice it. “Why didn’t you throw this away?”
“Memories.” He grinned and took a sip of his hot chocolate.
“I’m sorry if I embarrassed you in there,” he said, kicking a chunk of ice with the toe of his boot.
“It wouldn’t be the first time.” She listened to the faint sound of a snow blower off in the distance, remembering other occasions when Sabela instigated rumors about Hannah’s love life. She quirked a smile, realizing fantasy was more gossip-worthy than reality, and perhaps Sabela’s meddling would somehow prove beneficial in the future.
“Is that a good smile or an ‘I’m plotting my revenge on him’ smile?”
She hastened her pace as Deer Crossings came into view. “I’ll never tell.”
“Hey, wait,” Jasper called out, his footsteps stomping behind her. “That’s not reassuring at all.”
“Sorry I snapped at you. I don’t want people getting the wrong idea about Jasper and me.”
“What’s the right idea?”
Hannah’s lips twisted to the side. “I don’t know. I’m crazy about him, and the way he loves Jingles, but…”
“What if he grows tired of small town living? I’m not sure I could handle him leaving. I guess I want him to be my valentine forever, not just one predetermined day out of the year.”
Bree exhaled and shifted her weight from one foot to the other. “I’ve never seen you this serious about a guy before, especially one you’ve only known for a short time.” She lifted her gaze. “Are you positive he’s the one?”
“My heart thinks so.”
Bree squealed and hugged her friend. “I call dibs on being maid of honor.”
“Whoa. Slow down. Jasper might not share my sentiments. Don’t get excited for no good reason.” She exited the kitchen, saddened by Bree’s fading smile.
At the end of the semester, Cassidy returned home to Leelanau Falls for the holidays.
While her family played cards and drank hot chocolate, she decorated the Christmas tree.
What’s your favorite part of the holiday season?
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