Tag Archives: Judith Keim

Christmas Kisses Blitz

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Christmas Kisses cover

Soul Sisters at Cedar Mountain Lodge, Book Two

Romance, Holiday Romance, Women’s Fiction

Release Date: October 1, 2020

Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing

 

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Random circumstances brought them together. Love made them family.

Hailey Kirby plans to spend a wonderful Christmas holiday at the Cedar
Mountain Lodge with her family, celebrating her sister’s wedding as
Maid of Honor. Things go awry when the wedding is called off. Hoping to
comfort her sister, her mother and three sisters decide to go ahead with
their winter vacation plans at the Lodge.

Hailey works in town as the children’s librarian, and under the pen
name of Lee Merriweather is secretly the author and illustrator of picture
books. Young children adore the stories of Charlie and his dog, Zeke,
including Regan, the niece of Nick Hensley, a rock star musician who’s
recently moved back to Granite Ridge. When he reaches out to the author to
seek permission to write songs to go with the stories, Hailey is forced to
confess who she is and the painful reason why she’s been hiding behind
a pseudonym.

As Hailey and Nick put their creative minds together, they form a
friendship that quickly grows to much more. Hailey learns to trust and
discovers some chances in life are worth taking.

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Find more books in the Soul Sisters at Cedar Mountain Lodge series on
Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08CF38PH1

 

 

The entire Soul Sisters at Cedar Mountain Lodge series includes:

 

Christmas Sisters by Tess Thompson, Tammy L. Grace, Ev Bishop, Violet Howe,
Judith Keim

Christmas Kisses by Judith Keim

Christmas Wishes by Tammy L. Grace

Christmas Hope by Violet Howe

Christmas Dreams by Ev Bishop

Christmas Rings by Tess Thompson

 

Christmas Kisses tablet

 

About the Author

 Judith Keim enjoyed her childhood and young-adult years in Elmira, New
York, and now makes her home in Boise, Idaho, with her husband and their two
dachshunds, Winston and Wally, and other members of her family.

While growing up, she was drawn to the idea of writing stories from a young
age. Books were always present, being read, ready to go back to the library,
or about to be discovered. All in her family shared information from the
books in general conversation, giving them a wealth of knowledge and vivid
imaginations.

A hybrid author who both has a publisher and self-publishes, Ms. Keim
writes heart-warming novels about women who face unexpected challenges, meet
them with strength, and find love and happiness along the way. Her
best-selling books are based, in part, on many of the places she’s lived or
visited and on the interesting people she’s met, creating believable
characters and realistic settings her many loyal readers love. Ms. Keim
loves to hear from her readers and appreciates their enthusiasm for her
stories.

 

 Contact Links

Website

Twitter

Facebook

LinkedIn

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Purchase Links

Amazon

B&N

Kobo

iBooks

Google

 

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A Summer of Surprises Blitz

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A Summer of Surprises cover

Romance, Women’s Fiction

A Seashell Cottage Book

Release Date: June 23, 2020

Publisher: Wild Quail Publsihing

 

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Jill Conroy is tricked by her sister into becoming the housekeeper and cook
for the summer at Seashell Cottage where Greg Campbell and his nephew,
Brody, have been hired to do maintenance projects on the house. Annoyed at
first, Jill soon realizes how wonderful it is to be away from her home in
New York and the memories of her deceased, emotionally abusive
husband.

Soon the magic of the beach heals Jill enough for her to decide to move to
Florida permanently to make a new life for herself. Her part-time work at a
summer camp and the promise of a new job as a third-grade teacher in the
fall make it seem as if her future is set. But a visit from her sister,
followed by her mother, reveals secrets that surprise them all. Jill learns
to accept the idea of love not only from Brody but from his daughter, Kacy,
as the summer brings even more surprises.

 

 

Other Books in the Seashell Cottage Series:

A Christmas Star cover

A Christmas Star

A Seashell Cottage Book

Publisher: Wild Quail Publsihing

Published: November 2018

 

Two years ago, Noelle North’s then-fiancé left her waiting at
the church on Christmas—her wedding day and birthday. Now, she knows
she cannot endure another holiday season at home in Boston. At the urging of
four women at the assisted-living community where she serves as health
director, Noelle decides to rent Seashell Cottage on the Gulf Coast of
Florida for the holidays. She meets Silas Bellingham, the cutest
seven-year-old boy she’s ever seen, and his great-grandmother, Althea.
Noelle discovers Althea’s caretaker has been abusing her and goes into
action, ending up with the temporary care of both Althea and Silas. Becoming
part of the Bellingham household has an entirely different series of
challenges when it comes to Althea’s grandsons, Jake and Brett, who
are having problems of their own with hotels to run and their parents
missing in a plane crash. But after sparring with her, Silas’ father,
Jake, realizes Noelle is just what he and his family need, and when she
finds the perfect Christmas star for Silas, they both know he’s
right.

 

 Purchase on Amazon

 

 

Change of Heart cover

Change of Heart

A Seashell Cottage Book

Publisher: Wild Quail Publsihing

Published: June 2019

 

Emerson “Em” Jordan always wanted a Valentine’s Day
wedding. But after being dumped by her boyfriend, she spends the holiday at
Seashell Cottage on the Gulf Coast of Florida with Devin Gerard, a family
friend who has no interest in her or any other woman and is instead
concentrating on his pediatric medical practice and continuing medical
missions in Costa Rica.

Em, who’s always wanted a large family, doesn’t mind his
disinterest. At thirty-two, she’s decided she doesn’t need a
husband to have a child or to adopt one. First, she’s going to fulfill
her dream of setting up her own landscape design business in upstate New
York and has promised to continue to help run her grandmother’s flower
shop.

It isn’t until Em and Devin become friends that Em realizes she might
want more than friendship from him. But with his work in Miami and Costa
Rica and her busy life in New York, it’s out of the question until
something happens that changes everything, even a couple of hearts.

 

 Purchase from Amazon

 

 

 

 

A Summer of Surprises phone, tablet, paperback

 

Excerpt

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

Jillian Conroy listened to her sister, Cristal’s, voice on her
cellphone and took a deep breath.  A call from her sister was always a
surprise.

“So, start all over again, Cristal, and tell me exactly what it is
you want me to do.”

“It’s easy, Jill. My friend, Hope Thomason, now owns the
Seashell Cottage on the Gulf Coast of Florida, and she just needs someone to
live at the cottage for the summer while we do our European tour, the one
we’ve been talking about for years.”

“That’s it?” It didn’t sound like something
difficult. In fact, it sounded like a great way to escape the memories of
the past, thought Jill. School would be out in another week, and she
didn’t have any exciting plans for her summer break from teaching.
Maybe some extended time on the Gulf Coast would do her good. But every time
she tried to do something for her sister, it cost her emotionally, and
often, financially. A requested lunch date would end up with Jill paying for
it. What was supposed to be a fun event of shopping turned into a nightmare
when Cristal pouted that the dress Jill bought was the one she wanted. Their
relationship had always bordered on the toxic.

“There’s one more thing. A friend of Hope’s family, Greg
Campbell, is an older man who’s agreed to do some work on the cottage.
He’s staying in one of the guest rooms for a few weeks until the work
is done.”

“An older man, you say?”

“Yes. He and Hope’s father are friends. They’re the same
age.”

Jill let out a sigh of relief. Too many friends had been pushing her to
start dating again. She had no interest in doing so. Not after Jay’s
death two years ago.

“Think about it. I’ll call you tonight for your answer.”
Cristal cut off the call before Jill could ask any more questions.

 Jill sat in a chair and stared out the window of the kitchen inside
the small bungalow she called home in Ellenton, a small town in upstate New
York. She should’ve sold it months ago. The memories she held of her
life in the house weren’t pleasant. She’d thought by clearing
Jay’s things out of the house following his automobile accident,
she’d be able to chase away the unhappiness she’d known with
him.  But now the space just seemed empty. And lonely.

Her thoughts settled on her sister. Three years older than she, Cristal was
the beauty of the family. Their mother had declared to anyone who would
listen that Cristal got her beautiful features, naturally blonde hair, and
bright blue eyes from a relative of hers, while Jillian looked like the
Davis side of the family. The comparison was painful. Without the highlights
she had to add every few months, Jillian’s hair was a dishwater tan.
Her hazel eyes held no trace of blue. Worst of all, Cristal’s tall,
willowy figure seemed to taunt Jill’s shorter, curvy shape. It was a
bad match-up all around. If it weren’t so much like a well-known
storybook scenario, it would be almost comical.

Restless, Jill got up and paced the kitchen. It wasn’t their
different looks that had made her relationship with Cristal so difficult. It
was Cristal’s tendency to manipulate others in order to get her own
way. Jill knew how foolish it was to keep old wounds stored inside, but
every once in a while, one poked through the shell she kept around herself.
How could she forget that Cristal stole her date in college, the one guy
she’d dreamed would be hers forever? It was just one of the ways
Cristal had hurt her through the years. A snort of disgust left Jill’s
mouth. She might not have even paid attention to Jay except Cristal thought
he was a hottie. How was that for stupid rivalry?

Before she could go any deeper with that thought, the phone rang. Jill knew
who it was before she even checked Caller ID. Her mother, Valerie Davis, had
a nose for trouble. No doubt Cristal had phoned her for support.

“Hello, Mom,” Jill said without enthusiasm.

“Hi, honey. Cristal called to tell me that she’s arranged for
you to have a very nice summer break. She’s so thoughtful that
way.”

“She asked me to do her a favor so she and her friend can travel to
Europe,” Jill said calmly, still uncertain as to whether she should go
ahead with the idea or even what it entailed. 

“Well, if you don’t do it, I’m sure they can find someone
else to stay at the cottage. It sounds lovely. You should be grateful to
Cristal for thinking of you,” chided her mother. “A whole summer
to relax.”

It would be useless to argue. “Maybe you’re right,” said
Jill. “I could use the break to get away.” The idea suddenly
appealed to her. This change in her normal routine might give her the
opportunity to think things through, make some major decisions about her
life, give her a fresh start. God knew she’d been in an emotional rut
even before Jay had been killed.

“Splendid,” her mother said with satisfaction. “I’m
glad you’ll help your sister out. It would mean so much to her. She
and Hope have been planning this summer tour for a long time, and poor
Cristal has been working very hard.”

“You mean as a hostess at the club in Miami?”

“Now, Jillian, she does the best she can, and with her looks, she
doesn’t need to spend her time teaching school.”

“Oh? Because I teach school …” Jill stopped herself. She
didn’t like the person she became when dealing with her family. Only
her father had accepted her for who she was, and he’d died several
years ago.

“I didn’t mean that the way it sounded, Jillian,” her
mother said with a note of apology.

“Look, I have to go,” Jill said. “I’ll let you know
what I decide.”

“Please do. I care about both of you and hope that someday you girls
will get along.”

Jill sighed. “Goodbye, Mom.” Though the day was ruined by the
familiar routine with her mother, the idea of escaping to a place far away
became tantalizing.

Later, while looking up information online about the Seashell Cottage, Jill
filled with excitement. The pictures of it were lovely. It was not simply a
cottage; it was a beautiful, three-bedroom, three-bath house that sat
overlooking a wide, sandy beach. The house even had a screened-in
pool.

Before she could change her mind or overwork the thought that something
must be wrong if her sister was involved, Jill punched in Cristal’s
cell number and, when prompted, left a message.

“Hi, Cristal. Jill here. I’ve decided to stay at Seashell
Cottage for the summer so you and Hope can travel. At the end of next week,
when school is out, I’ll drive down to Florida. I should be there by
June 8th and can stay until late August. Let me know if those dates work
with you and Hope.” Hating confrontation, she paused and took a deep
breath. “And, Cristal, thanks for thinking of me.”

That evening Cristal called. The noise of music and partying in the
background made it difficult to hear, but the message did get through that
Cristal was thrilled Jill would stay at the cottage. “You’ll
see. This summer is going to be good for you, Jilly. For both of us,
really.”

“I hope so,” said Jill honestly. She was more than ready for a
change.

About the Author

Judith Keim enjoyed her childhood and young-adult years in Elmira, New
York, and now makes her home in Boise, Idaho, with her husband and their two
dachshunds, Winston and Wally, and other members of her family.

While growing up, she was drawn to the idea of writing stories from a young
age. Books were always present, being read, ready to go back to the library,
or about to be discovered. All in her family shared information from the
books in general conversation, giving them a wealth of knowledge and vivid
imaginations.

A hybrid author who both has a publisher and self-publishes, Ms. Keim
writes heart-warming novels about women who face unexpected challenges, meet
them with strength, and find love and happiness along the way. Her
best-selling books are based, in part, on many of the places she’s lived or
visited and on the interesting people she’s met, creating believable
characters and realistic settings her many loyal readers love. Ms. Keim
loves to hear from her readers and appreciates their enthusiasm for her
stories.

 

Contact Links

Website

Twitter

Facebook

BookBub

Promo Link

 

Purchase Links

Amazon

B&N

iBooks

Kobo

RABT Book Tours & PR

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Home at Last Release Blitz

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Home at Last cover 

Chandler Hill Inn Series, Book 3
Romance, Women’s Fiction
Date Published: April 13, 2020
Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing LLC
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Louise “Lulu” Kingsley is thrilled to discover after years of wishing for a sibling, Cami Chandler is her half-sister. When Cami invites her to live with her at Chandler Hill, Lulu jumps at the chance to leave behind all the heartache in her recent life. Not the spoiled little rich girl the media would like everyone to think, Lulu digs into marketing for the inn and winery, feeling more comfortable there than she ever did in California with her political father. Better yet, her mother is becoming a stronger, happier person and shares the idea of becoming part of a new family. Even though Lulu is aware that Miguel Lopez is the kind of guy who represents everything she’s trying to forget, she’s attracted to him. Following a heartbreaking situation, she steps away from their relationship. Lulu settles in at Chandler Hill, coping the best way she knows—by working hard. But when Cami’s beloved grandfather, Rafe, has a stroke, Lulu realizes life is short and knows she must make things right with Miguel, and learns that home is where your heart leads you.
Other Books in the Chandler Hill Inn Series:
Coming Home Chandler Hill Inn Series, Book 2
Coming Home
Chandler Hill Inn Series, Book 2
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Camilla “Cami” Chandler comes home from France to take over the Chandler Hill Inn and Winery for her recently-deceased grandmother, Lettie, as she’d always promised. Determined to succeed in this new venture, she finds herself in trouble from the beginning when she discovers most of her grandmother’s estate intended for maintaining the inn’s business expenses was lost in a Ponzi scheme. She forges ahead to provide her guests with wonderful experiences and to produce the best wines in Willamette Valley. After being ditched by her French boyfriend, she decides that being friends with Drew Farley is the safest way to proceed. He loves grape growing and winemaking as much as she does and isn’t looking for anything beyond friendship.
When a bride planning a wedding at the inn tells Cami that she looks exactly like her best friend, life becomes even more complicated. Never having known even the name of her father, Cami searches for a connection and comes to realize how complicated love and family can be.
Going Home Chandler Hill Inn Series, Book 1

 

Going Home
Chandler Hill Inn Series, Book 1
Release Date: February 13, 2019
In 1970, Violet Hawkins’ only wish at eighteen is to escape her life in the Dayton, Ohio, foster-care system and make her way to the west coast to enjoy a mellow life and find the love she’s been missing all her life. She makes it to San Francisco, but soon learns she needs a job if she’s to live properly. A kind, young man named Kenton Chandler offers her a sandwich and a job at his father’s inn and vineyards. With nothing to lose, Lettie takes him up on his offer and begins a whole new life in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. She immediately falls in love with the land and is fascinated with the idea of growing grapes in order to make wines. She, Kenton, and Rafe Lopez become friends as she learns about running the small inn on the property.
At the same time she marries Kenton, a stroke kills his father. And then before she can tell Kenton she’s pregnant, he dies in an automobile accident. Heartbroken and burdened with the gift of the Chandler Hill Inn and Winery, she’s left with the task of making them a success. Struggling to raise a child alone while working to grow the business, Lettie makes a shocking discovery that changes everything.
Home at Last  tablet, phone, paperback
Excerpt
 
CHAPTER ONE
          Louise “Lulu” Kingsley sat on the deck of Camilla Chandler’s home and wondered how she could be so lucky to live in a place like Willamette Valley, Oregon. The journey to reach this point was more than painful—it had almost destroyed her. But, here at Chandler Hill, she felt she might have found her true home at last.
          Staring out at the rolling hills and the rows of grapevines devoid of their fruit after the harvest, she saw the goodness of the land, its beauty and, most of all, the comforting prospect of more harvests to come. She thought of this continuity of life as a renewal of her own.
If Cami hadn’t offered her a place to stay and a job in an entirely new location, Lulu wasn’t sure she could have survived the last year of family scandal and misfortune. For anyone who didn’t know much about her, they’d think her life was a privileged, easy one as the daughter of a rich, powerful man who’d one day wanted to run for president of the United States. But the man who tied her to her newly discovered half-sister was a man of too many appetites, and his actions had hurt others, including her fragile mother and her.
The understanding shown by the half-sister she’d never known growing up meant the world to her. Cami came from a long line of kind, generous Chandler and Lopez families. Living and working at the Chandler Hill Inn and Winery was more than an ordinary existence. For Lulu, it meant finding a loving place in the world, one she’d desperately needed.          
          “I thought I’d find you here,” said Cami, stepping onto the deck and standing behind her. “I love to sit here and gaze out at the land. It’s very peaceful toward the end of the day and, as always, I think of Nonnee. My grandmother’s love of the land was the foundation for everything that’s been done here with both the inn and the winery.”
          Lulu turned around in her rocking chair and smiled up at Cami. Not much older than she, Cami’s big heart matched her usual smile. Though Cami wasn’t as tall as Lulu and had totally opposite coloring, their facial features were astonishingly alike. Among other things, they shared a tiny quirk—misshapen earlobes, a genetic inheritance from their father. Lulu wished she had strawberry-blond curls like Cami and her grandmother, Lettie Chandler, but Lulu’s hair was straight and dark. 
          Cami took a seat in a chair next to her. “Gwen is very pleased to have you assist her at The Barn. I explained it was only temporary, that you’d agreed to handle our marketing program. But with the holiday season not that far away, I realize both she and I will need your help until after the new year.”
          “I love being part of the staff,” said Lulu, meaning it.
Cami gave her a tender smile. “Sweetie, you’re much more than one of the staff; you’re family. We intend to use your marketing and sales skills here at the inn and the other two wineries now associated with Chandler Hill.”
          A warmth filled Lulu. Being part of a real, healthy family was such a gift. An only child after the death of her younger, ten-year-old brother, Teddy, she’d always longed for siblings. Cami’s grandfather, Rafe, was a wonderful man who’d been very kind to her. They’d formed a bond over the fact that her father and Lettie and Rafe’s daughter, Autumn, had met and fallen in love, producing Cami. The rest of Cami’s family consisted of a whole group of people who weren’t related by blood, but were still a close-knit group.
About the Author

 

Judith Keim enjoyed her childhood and young-adult years in Elmira, New York, and now makes her home in Boise, Idaho, with her husband and their two dachshunds, Winston and Wally, and other members of her family.
While growing up, she was drawn to the idea of writing stories from a young age. Books were always present, being read, ready to go back to the library, or about to be discovered. All in her family shared information from the books in general conversation, giving them a wealth of knowledge and vivid imaginations.
A hybrid author who both has a publisher and self-publishes, Ms. Keim writes heart-warming novels about women who face unexpected challenges, meet them with strength, and find love and happiness along the way. Her best-selling books are based, in part, on many of the places she’s lived or visited and on the interesting people she’s met, creating believable characters and realistic settings her many loyal readers love. Ms. Keim loves to hear from her readers and appreciates their enthusiasm for her stories.
Contact Links
Purchase Links
RABT Book Tours & PR

1 Comment

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Coming Home Release Blitz

Coming Home banner

 photo Coming Home_zpsxhb3rajx.jpg

Chandler Hill Inn Series, Book 2
Romance, Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing
Release Date: October 8, 2019
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
Camilla “Cami” Chandler comes home from France to take over the Chandler Hill Inn and Winery for her recently-deceased grandmother, Lettie, as she’d always promised. Determined to succeed in this new venture, she finds herself in trouble from the beginning when she discovers most of her grandmother’s estate intended for maintaining the inn’s business expenses was lost in a Ponzi scheme. She forges ahead to provide her guests with wonderful experiences and to produce the best wines in Willamette Valley. After being ditched by her French boyfriend, she decides that being friends with Drew Farley is the safest way to proceed. He loves grape growing and winemaking as much as she does and isn’t looking for anything beyond friendship.
When a bride planning a wedding at the inn tells Cami that she looks exactly like her best friend, life becomes even more complicated. Never having known even the name of her father, Cami searches for a connection and comes to realize how complicated love and family can be.
 photo Coming Home set_zpseldbt5j8.jpg
Other Books in the Chandler Hill Inn Series:
 photo Going Home_zpstm89eirn.jpg
Going Home
Chandler Hill Inn Series, Book 1
Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing
Release Date: February 13, 2019
In 1970, Violet Hawkins’ only wish at eighteen is to escape her life in the Dayton, Ohio, foster-care system and make her way to the west coast to enjoy a mellow life and find the love she’s been missing all her life. She makes it to San Francisco, but soon learns she needs a job if she’s to live properly. A kind, young man named Kenton Chandler offers her a sandwich and a job at his father’s inn and vineyards. With nothing to lose, Lettie takes him up on his offer and begins a whole new life in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. She immediately falls in love with the land and is fascinated with the idea of growing grapes in order to make wines. She, Kenton, and Rafe Lopez become friends as she learns about running the small inn on the property.
At the same time she marries Kenton, a stroke kills his father. And then before she can tell Kenton she’s pregnant, he dies in an automobile accident. Heartbroken and burdened with the gift of the Chandler Hill Inn and Winery, she’s left with the task of making them a success. Struggling to raise a child alone while working to grow the business, Lettie makes a shocking discovery that changes everything.
 photo Coming Home print tablet and phone_zps4ecnoeny.jpg
About the Author

 photo Coming Home Author Judith Keim_zpsrw05ayts.jpg

Judith Keim enjoyed her childhood and young-adult years in Elmira, New York, and now makes her home in Boise, Idaho, with her husband and their two dachshunds, Winston and Wally, and other members of her family.
While growing up, she was drawn to the idea of writing stories from a young age. Books were always present, being read, ready to go back to the library, or about to be discovered. All in her family shared information from the books in general conversation, giving them a wealth of knowledge and vivid imaginations.
A hybrid author who both has a publisher and self-publishes, Ms. Keim writes heart-warming novels about women who face unexpected challenges, meet them with strength, and find love and happiness along the way. Her best-selling books are based, in part, on many of the places she’s lived or visited and on the interesting people she’s met, creating believable characters and realistic settings her many loyal readers love. Ms. Keim loves to hear from her readers and appreciates their enthusiasm for her stories.
Contact Links
Purchase Links
Kobo  
iBooks  
 
RABT Book Tours & PR

2 Comments

Filed under BOOKS

Change of Heart Blitz

Change of Heart banner

 photo Change of Heart_zpsqdbmn7ym.jpg

Romance,
Women’s Fiction
A
Seashell Cottage Book
Publisher:
Wild Quail Publishing
Release
Date:
June 11, 2019
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
Emerson
“Em” Jordan always wanted a Valentine’s Day wedding. But after being dumped by
her boyfriend, she spends the holiday at Seashell Cottage on the Gulf Coast of
Florida with Devin Gerard, a family friend who has no interest in her or any
other woman and is instead concentrating on his pediatric medical practice and
continuing medical missions in Costa Rica.
Em,
who’s always wanted a large family, doesn’t mind his disinterest. At thirty-two,
she’s decided she doesn’t need a husband to have a child or to adopt one.
First, she’s going to fulfill her dream of setting up her own landscape design
business in upstate New York and has promised to continue to help run her
grandmother’s flower shop.
It
isn’t until Em and Devin become friends that Em realizes she might want more
than friendship from him. But with his work in Miami and Costa Rica and her
busy life in New York, it’s out of the question until something happens that
changes everything, even a couple of hearts.
 
Excerpt
Emerson
“Em” Jordan closed her eyes as the sound of the music enveloped her in a cloud
of happiness. She was taking part in her sister’s wedding at a resort along the
Gulf Coast of Florida, but in her mind, it might as well be her own
celebration. The dreamy man holding her hadn’t proposed yet, but she was pretty
sure he soon would. She’d dropped all kinds of hints about a Valentine
engagement and a wedding a year later on Valentine’s Day. It had been a dream of
hers from the time she was a girl.
In
a burst of noise, the image of dancing disappeared. Em sat bolt upright in bed
and stared out her bedroom window. Through the glass she saw a colorful display
of fireworks, and then she heard another loud bang.
Em
lowered her head into her hands and sobbed as she recalled what had happened
earlier that evening. The Fourth of July picnic turned into a disaster when her
boyfriend, Jared King, had announced he needed to talk to her about something
important. When she saw his serious expression and how he was shuffling his
feet, a nervous habit of his, her stomach did a somersault. She’d watched her
family and friends head out to walk the four blocks to the town park to watch
the fireworks and wished she could run after them.
As
he studied her, Jared took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “ Like I said,
we need to talk. I can’t do this any longer. I love you, Em, I do, but I’m not
in love with you. It’s time to call it quits.”
She
lifted a hand to her cheek as if he’d slapped her and reeled away from him.
“You’re breaking up with me? Like this?”
He
sighed. “It’s not working. And it’s not going to.”
Shocked,
she stared at him wide eyed, certain she was about to throw up. She staggered
over to one of the picnic tables set up in her parents’ backyard and plopped
down on the bench beside it. Bending over, Em put her head between her legs
hoping to stop the world around her from spinning.
“Are
you all right?” Jared asked, standing a safe distance from her.
Anger
straightened her. “I’m not all right, Jared King! You just broke my heart! I’m
not sure I’ll ever be all right again!”
“I’m
sorry, Em. I really am.” He’d simply turned and walked away, leaving her to
clutch her body, too weak to run after him, her dreams scattered around her
like crushed blossoms.
###
For
the next few weeks, Em managed to continue working at the family’s flower shop,
but, in truth, she barely functioned. Jagged edges of her broken heart kept
poking her insides, taking away her breath, stealing the cheerfulness she
usually wore like a comfortable old sweater to protect her. Not even the sweet
smell of freesia in the flower shop could chase away the pain of Jared’s words.
It was a good thing that Jared lived in New York City, an hour away. She
couldn’t bear to see him.
She
returned to her task of putting together a basket of summer wild flowers. She
loved making things look as natural as possible, and woven baskets were good
containers for the colorful blooms.
“How
are you coming with the Williams order?” her grandmother, Julia Jordan, asked
as she entered the work area.
“Almost
done,” Em said, standing back to appraise the placement of flowers.
“Looks
wonderful, sweetheart.” After the death of her husband many years ago, her
grandmother had opened the flower shop she’d named Rainbow’s End in their
small, upstate town of Ellenton, New York. In her late sixties, Julia was still
an attractive woman with gray hair cut in a bob, sparkling eyes, and a face
that reflected beauty enhanced by her inner peace. Em smiled. Of all the people
in the family, her grandmother understood her best. Two optimists who came
together. Didn’t the name of her flower shop say it all?
Later,
as Em was putting together a bouquet for a husband to send as a surprise to his
wife, she couldn’t hold back the question that had been gnawing at her insides.
“Gran, Jared told me he loved me, but he wasn’t in love with me.” It still hurt
to say the words.
Her
grandmother’s blue-eyed gaze, so like her own, rested on her thoughtfully. “He
wasn’t the right man. Don’t worry. You have time.”
“But,
Gran, I’ll be thirty-two next spring! And every man I meet ends up being wrong
for me. First, there was Garrett. He turned out to be gay, for heaven’s sake.”
Gran
clucked her tongue. “The opera singer in New York was the hardest for me to
imagine your marrying. Imagine him already married to a concert pianist on
tour!”
“Yeah,
that was another bad time. He’d told me he was lonely. I thought it was because
he was living so far away from family. I didn’t imagine him having a wife.
Neither he nor news releases ever mentioned it.”
Gran
placed a hand on Em’s shoulder. “I’m so glad you agreed to come back to
Ellenton to live. The trouble with you, Emerson, is you want to believe only
the best in everybody in every aspect of your life. That makes you a special
person, but one who is bound to get hurt.”
“I
know everyone teases me about being a Pollyanna, but I’d prefer to live happily
rather than face doom and gloom all the time.”
Gran
drew her into a hug. “Maybe it’s time for you to have a change of heart, become
a little more careful, more realistic. Nothing too drastic, mind you.”
Em
laid the red rose in her hand on the workbench. “Are you saying it’s time for
me to grow up?”
“In
a way,” she said kindly, brushing Em’s long, blond hair away from her face.
“You and I, we’re two of a kind. We dream of what could be without seeing
things as they really are. Who knew my husband would die at a young age,
leaving me with a young son to raise and no money?”
“I’m
glad you decided to open a flower shop. I love it.” Em drew a shaky breath.
“But, Gran, I hope you understand I can’t go through Valentine’s Day working
here. That’s when Jared was supposed to propose to me.”
“No
worries. I already figured that out. Besides, my neighbor, Marilyn, needs to
find a job. I promised I’d hire her on a part-time basis, thinking if she
worked out, I’d bring her on board full-time before the holidays. That will
give you a chance to start thinking about opening the landscape design business
you’ve been talking about.”
Relief
sprinted through Em. She’d never want to hurt her grandmother, but no way, no
how could she endure making beautiful bouquets, lovely nosegays, or single-rose
love letters of her own design for others during the romantic time of
Valentine’s Day.
About
the Author

 photo Change of Heart Author Judith Keim_zpsi6bdolbw.jpg

Judith
Keim enjoyed her childhood and young-adult years in Elmira, New York, and now
makes her home in Boise, Idaho, with her husband and their two dachshunds,
Winston and Wally, and other members of her family.
While
growing up, she was drawn to the idea of writing stories from a young age.
Books were always present, being read, ready to go back to the library, or
about to be discovered. All in her family shared information from the books in
general conversation, giving them a wealth of knowledge and vivid imaginations.
A
hybrid author who both has a publisher and self-publishes, Ms. Keim writes
heart-warming novels about women who face unexpected challenges, meet them with
strength, and find love and happiness along the way. Her best-selling books are
based, in part, on many of the places she’s lived or visited and on the
interesting people she’s met, creating believable characters and realistic
settings her many loyal readers love. Ms. Keim loves to hear from her readers
and appreciates their enthusiasm for her stories.
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