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Finding Family – Blitz

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Salty Key Inn Series, Book 4
Women’s Fiction
Date Published: September 22, 2018
Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing
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Sheena Sullivan Morelli and her sisters, Darcy and Regan, work to complete their Uncle Gavin’s challenge of turning his rundown hotel into a profitable operation within one year. Winning means earning a share in their uncle’s sizable estate. More than that, it determines how they’ll spend the rest of their lives. Sheena wants to stay on at the hotel, overseeing the hotel operation. But Darcy and Regan want to move on with their lives—Darcy writing a novel and Regan going into the interior decorating business with Mo. But life has other plans for them. And in the end, all three realize that the only thing that really matters is finding—and keeping—family.
Other Books in the Salty Key Inn Series:
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Finding Me
Salty Key Inn Series, Book 1
Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing
Published: February 2017
Sheena Sullivan Morelli and her sisters, Darcy and Regan, receive the unexpected news that their Uncle Gavin Sullivan, the black sheep of the family, has left them a hotel on the Gulf coast of Florida. The gift comes with a twist. They must live together for one year at the hotel and prepare the hotel to receive guests within a year. Sheena, eager to escape her role of unappreciated wife and mother, can’t wait for the opportunity to find herself. Dreams of sitting on the beach sipping margaritas are shattered when they see the property in need of renovation. But they begin their work of meeting the challenge. If they succeed, the bulk of Gavin’s estate will be theirs. Facing the unexpected, working together, the three sisters learn a lot about each other and the gift of family love.
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Finding My Way 
Salty Key Inn Series, Book 2
Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing
Published: June 2017
Darcy Sullivan and her two sisters continue to work hard at the Salty Key Inn, the small, Florida hotel they unexpectedly inherited. In order to inherit the rest of Uncle Gavin’s sizeable estate, they must meet his challenge to open the neglected hotel by the end of the year. Darcy figures once they meet the challenge, she’ll take off, travel the world, and maybe, just maybe, begin writing the world’s best novel. When she meets Nick Howard, an older man who is a reporter for the local newspaper and takes over his weekly column, her life changes. Under his tutelage, she writes about local residents, learning to see people in a different way—especially after meeting a cousin no one knew about. Her joy at having the part-time job that’s always been her dream is shattered when she learns Nick is dying. For support, she turns to Austin Blakely, whose grandmother is terminally ill, and through their growing relationship, comes to understand what true love is.
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Finding Love
Salty Key Inn Series, Book 3
Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing
Published: February 2018
As Regan Sullivan continues to work with her sisters, Sheena and Darcy, to meet their Uncle Gavin’s challenge to make the Salty Key Inn a success, she wonders why she can never find the man of her dreams. Her sisters are happily settled with men they love. Why can’t she do the same? When she’s involved in a motorcycle accident with Brian Harwood, Regan learns to think differently about both her appearance and herself. And as she deals with her injuries and helps Brian recover from the accident she feels guilty about causing, Regan discovers that the love she’s always sought has been there all along.
Excerpt
CHAPTER ONE
SHEENA
Sheena Sullivan Morelli stood outside Gavin’s, the new restaurant at the Salty Key Inn on the Gulf Coast of Florida, feeling as festive as the mini-lights wound around the trunks of the palm trees that softened the outline of the building. She was dressed in her finest on this unusually warm, mid-December night, and the tropical Gulf breezes felt good as they caressed her skin.
From among the hibiscus planted around the perimeter of the restaurant, lights twinkled like the stars in the inky sky above and lent a sense of peace to the area. That, and the fact that Petey, the pesky peacock Rocky Gatto had rescued and brought to the hotel, had decided not to bother with this celebration and was hanging out down by the bay.
“Let’s make this an evening to remember!” said Sheena, giving her younger sisters, Darcy and Regan, an encouraging smile.
Named after their uncle, the restaurant would, they hoped, bring in enough revenue for them to be considered successful in meeting the terms of his will. With less than a month before their final meeting with Gavin’s estate lawyer in Boston, they were trying their best to prove to him that they had succeeded in beating the challenge of turning his rundown hotel into a profitable operation within one year. Winning meant they would inherit Gavin’s sizable estate along with the hotel. More than that, it would determine how they’d spend the rest of their lives.
Sheena brushed an imaginary crumb off her blue linen dress and studied her sisters. Darcy was wearing a green sheath that offset her red curls nicely. And Regan, beautiful as ever, even with the scar on her face she couldn’t quite hide, had chosen a violet, flowy dress that matched her striking eyes. Funny, Sheena thought, how she hadn’t really known her sisters until the three of them had been forced to live and work together at the hotel. And when Regan and Brian Harwood, now her fiancé, were in a serious motorcycle accident a few months ago, frightening everyone, they’d become even closer.
“I hope everyone likes what they see,” Regan said. “Mo and I did our best decorating the interior with the budget we had.”
“Don’t worry. It’s gorgeous,” said Darcy, giving Regan an impish nudge with her elbow.
“The restaurant is stunning,” said Sheena, “and the food is great. We were lucky to get Graham Howard as our chef.” She turned as a stream of people headed their way from the parking lot, which was filling up fast.
“Here we go! Make it good,” said Sheena softly, prompting Darcy and Regan to roll their eyes at the big-sister moment Sheena couldn’t help.
They’d invited county commissioners, members of nearby city and town councils, other government officials, news people, owners and managers of other hotels in the area, and even the governor of Florida to join them for this grand opening. It had been a bold move on their part, but it had already paid off in publicity, even though the governor and some county commissioners had politely declined. The fact that Darcy had been writing a column for a local newspaper helped them. She was acquainted with the ins and outs of generating publicity and had invited several writers of local social columns, travel bloggers, and magazines.
 Sheena was soon swept up greeting people and ushering them inside to enjoy drinks and to taste the delicious-looking food displayed in the bar and on a long buffet in the dining room.
The dark wood paneling on the walls of the main dining room supplied a rich background for the brass and crystal wall sconces that spread a soft glow along the room’s edges. Crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, casting their own warm light. White linen cloths covered the tabletops, which were set with sparkling wine goblets and silverware that reflected the light from the chandeliers and sconces. Flickering battery candles sat among tasteful, holiday greenery, adding a pine perfume to the mouth-watering aroma of the hors d’oeuvres being passed by staff.
Upstairs, the large function room held another bar and more food to sample, drawing people through the entire restaurant. A buzz of conversation enhanced the sense of excitement. The crowd was a pleasing mixture of people who, hopefully, would be a source of future business.
Kenneth Cochran, better known as Casey, was a Cornell Hotel School grad and manager of the restaurant. Tall and thin, he was a natural at his job with his ever-present smile and alert blue eyes. Tonight, he seemed to be everywhere, overseeing staff, and greeting people. Sheena observed him with satisfaction as guests responded to his attention. If she and her sisters won the challenge, they hoped to hire Casey as the hotel manager to help Sheena, who would remain an active overseer of the property.
Sheena looked up as her husband, Tony, appeared with their two children. Tears stung her eyes when she noticed the effort Michael, at eighteen, and Meaghan, at fifteen, had put into their appearance. After initially being against her plan to come to Florida, they now embraced their new lives and were proud of all she was doing.
“Hi, Mom,” said Michael. His brown eyes, so like Tony’s, sparkled. “Okay if I help myself to some of the food?”
She laughed at the typical, teenage hunger of a still-growing, young man. “Of course.   Enjoy.”
“You look pretty, Mom,” Meaghan said. “Thanks for letting me wear your necklace. It’s great with my new holiday dress.” She twirled in front of Sheena. Her auburn hair, like Sheena’s, swung above her shoulders and brought out the hazel in her eyes.
“You look pretty, too, sweetheart,” Sheena said. Her little girl was growing into a beautiful young woman.
Tony gave her a smile that warmed her heart. His smile had been one of the reasons their marriage had been prompted by the unexpected creation of Michael all those years ago. And though they’d always loved each other, their relationship had grown even stronger during their time in Florida.
He kissed her. “See you later. I’m going to mix with the crowd a little. Brian and I are hoping to pick up some new business.”
She gave him a heartfelt smile. Following Brian Harwood’s motorcycle accident with Regan, Tony had agreed to become a partner in Brian’s construction company and was now settled into his new life in Florida. As Tony walked away, Sheena noticed Blackie Gatto headed in her direction.
Blackie was Uncle Gavin’s financial advisor and a great supporter of her and her sisters as they attempted to do as their uncle wished by transforming what had been a small, run-down, family hotel into the upscale, full-service resort property he’d envisioned.
“Welcome to Gavin’s,” Sheena said to him, giving him a quick hug. “I’m so glad you could make it.”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” he replied, lifting her hand, and kissing it in a gallant gesture. He indicated their surroundings with a sweep of his arm. “I think Gavin would be very pleased with this.”
“We hope it brings in enough new business and revenue for us to complete our challenge here the Salty Key Inn.”
He nodded and settled his gaze on her. “I hope so, too. The downside of borrowing the money from Gavin’s estate to complete the restaurant could be difficult for you and your sisters if you fail.”
Sheena’s stomach curled inside her, but she didn’t want Blackie to see how worried she was. For the sake of her sisters and her family, she had to remain upbeat. With only a few weeks remaining to accomplish everything they had left to do, self-doubt could ruin them.
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About the Author

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Judith Keim was born and raised in Elmira, New York, and now makes her home in Idaho with her husband and their two dachshunds, Winston and Wally, and other members of her family.
Growing up, books were always present being read, ready to go back to the library, or about to be discovered. Information from the books was shared in general conversation, giving all of us in the family a wealth of knowledge and a lot of imagination. Perhaps that is why I was drawn to the idea of writing stories early on. I particularly love to write novels about women who face unexpected challenges and meet them with strength.
A hybrid author who both has a publisher and who self-publishes, Ms. Keim writes heart-warming stories of strong women who face challenges and find love and happiness along the way. Her 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.
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Finding Me – Blitz

 Finding Me tour graphic

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Salty Key Inn Series, Book 1
Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing
Published: February 2017
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
Sheena Sullivan Morelli and her sisters, Darcy and Regan, receive the unexpected news that their Uncle Gavin Sullivan, the black sheep of the family, has left them a hotel on the Gulf coast of Florida. The gift comes with a twist. They must live together for one year at the hotel and prepare the hotel to receive guests within a year. Sheena, eager to escape her role of unappreciated wife and mother, can’t wait for the opportunity to find herself. Dreams of sitting on the beach sipping margaritas are shattered when they see the property in need of renovation. But they begin their work of meeting the challenge. If they succeed, the bulk of Gavin’s estate will be theirs. Facing the unexpected, working together, the three sisters learn a lot about each other and the gift of family love.
 photo Finding Me set on tablets with beach background 2_zpsuzj05kcy.jpg
Other Books in the Salty Key Inn Series:
 photo Finding My Way book two_zpsj4bgdscs.jpg
Finding My Way
Salty Key Inn Series, Book 2
Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing
Published: June 2017
Darcy Sullivan and her two sisters continue to work hard at the Salty Key Inn, the small, Florida hotel they unexpectedly inherited. In order to inherit the rest of Uncle Gavin’s sizeable estate, they must meet his challenge to open the neglected hotel by the end of the year. Darcy figures once they meet the challenge, she’ll take off, travel the world, and maybe, just maybe, begin writing the world’s best novel. When she meets Nick Howard, an older man who is a reporter for the local newspaper and takes over his weekly column, her life changes. Under his tutelage, she writes about local residents, learning to see people in a different way—especially after meeting a cousin no one knew about. Her joy at having the part-time job that’s always been her dream is shattered when she learns Nick is dying. For support, she turns to Austin Blakely, whose grandmother is terminally ill, and through their growing relationship, comes to understand what true love is.
 photo Finding Love book three_zpsmzbl9pml.jpg
Finding Love
Salty Key Inn Series, Book 3
Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing
Published: February 2018

As Regan Sullivan continues to work with her sisters, Sheena and Darcy, to meet their Uncle Gavin’s challenge to make the Salty Key Inn a success, she wonders why she can never find the man of her dreams. Her sisters are happily settled with men they love. Why can’t she do the same? When she’s involved in a motorcycle accident with Brian Harwood, Regan learns to think differently about both her appearance and herself. And as she deals with her injuries and helps Brian recover from the accident she feels guilty about causing, Regan discovers that the love she’s always sought has been there all along.
 photo Finding Me on tablet 4_zpsdkxec5m0.jpg
 
Excerpt
 CHAPTER ONE
SHEENA
In early January, Sheena Morelli sat with her two sisters in a conference room of the Boston law office of Lowell, Peabody and Wilson, waiting to meet with Archibald Wilson himself.
“Do either of you have any idea why we’re really here?” said her youngest sister, Regan. “The letter from Mr. Wilson said something about a reading of a will. But that doesn’t make sense to me. I didn’t even know Gavin Sullivan.”
“Me, neither. He’s probably some rich uncle leaving us a lot of money,” teased Darcy, the typical middle sister, who was always kidding around.
Sheena laughed with her. The three Sullivan sisters had no rich relatives that they knew of in their modest family. They were hard workers who relied on only themselves to make it through life. Well, thought Sheena, maybe Regan wasn’t as reliable as she and Darcy. As the baby of the family, Regan had always been a bit spoiled. At twenty-two and eager to escape her old life in Boston, Regan wasn’t about to spend too much time with the family. This time, though, at the formal request of Mr. Wilson, Regan had dutifully left New York City to come to “Bean Town.”
As Sheena waited in the conference room for Mr. Wilson to show up, she studied Regan out of the corner of her eye. With her long, black hair, big, violet-blue eyes, and delicate Sullivan features, she was a knockout—a Liz Taylor look-alike.
Darcy sat on the other side of Sheena in a stiff-backed chair. Studying Darcy’s blue eyes, red hair, and freckled nose, Sheena thought of her as cute…and funny…and maybe a little annoying, though everyone seemed to love Darcy’s sassy attitude. At twenty-six, Darcy claimed she hadn’t found her true calling. Whatever that meant.
Sheena had found her calling in a hurry when she got pregnant as she was starting college, where she’d planned to take nursing courses. Ironic as it was, her wanting to become a nurse and getting caught like that, had changed many things for her. Now, at thirty-six and with a sixteen-year-old son and a fourteen-year-old daughter, she still hadn’t recovered from losing her dream.
She straightened in her chair as a tall, gray-haired man entered the room carrying a file of papers.
“Good morning, ladies. I’m Archibald Wilson, the lawyer representing Gavin Sullivan. I’m pleased you all could attend this reading of his will,” he announced in a bass voice. He looked the three of them over critically. “Which one of you is Sheena Sullivan Morelli?”
She raised her hand. “I’m Sheena. Do you mean the ‘Big G’ Sullivan?”
Wide-eyed, her sisters released loud gasps. The name “Big G Sullivan” had been mentioned in the family on rare occasions, and only when her father and his two other brothers had had too many beers. And then it was never kindly.
Mr. Wilson nodded with satisfaction. “Yes, that’s my client. Sheena, though all three of you are beneficiaries, I will address you on most of the issues, as it pertains to the specific language of the will.”
Sheena sat back in her chair, her mind spinning. This scene seemed so surreal. Their father had broken his relationship with this brother years ago. He’d always said his brother was a loser, someone he could never trust.
“He’s left something for us?” said Darcy. “I was only teasing about such a thing.”
The lawyer studied Darcy a moment, took a seat facing the three of them on the other side of the small conference table, and opened the file he had carried in.
He began to speak: “I, Gavin R. Sullivan, of the State of Florida, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do make, publish, and declare this to be my Last Will and Testament…”
Certain words faded in and out of Sheena’s shocked state of mind. Though her sisters might have been too young to remember him, she had a clear image of the big, jovial man who’d captivated her with his smile, his belly laughs, and the way her father grew quiet when they were in the same room together. On one particular visit, the “Big G”, as he was known, gave her a stuffed monkey that she’d kept on her bed for years. It wasn’t until the fur on the monkey was worn off that she’d noticed a seam was tearing. One day, while she was probing the hole, a gold coin fell out.
Sheena showed the coin to her mother, who snatched it away and whispered, “Don’t tell anyone about this. It’s very valuable. Someday you’ll need it. Until then, I’ll keep it safe for you. Your uncle loves you very much.” As her father walked through the doorway, her mother held a finger to her lips.
Until now, Sheena had forgotten all about the coin.
Archibald Wilson’s voice brought her back to the present. “Sheena, you, Darcy, and Regan are now the legal owners of the Salty Key Inn, but you, Sheena, will be in charge of taking over the small hotel in Florida, as your uncle directed in his will. Is that understood by the three of you?”
Sheena and her sisters dutifully bobbed their heads. The bewilderment on her sisters’ faces matched her own feelings. How in the world were the three of them going to run a hotel?
“Remember,” Mr. Wilson warned them, “the hotel may not be sold for a period of one year. And the three of you must live there together for that entire time if you are to have a share in the rest of his sizeable estate, the details of which will remain undisclosed until the end of your year in Florida. You have just two weeks to prepare. In conversations I had with him in setting up the will, I believe Gavin Sullivan intended for this to be a life lesson for each of you.”
“Whoa! Wait a minute! What about the lease on the condo I share with two of my friends? I can’t just walk away from that,” said Darcy.
“And mine?” said Regan.
The lawyer nodded. “Read over the conditions of the will. Any expenses like that will be taken care of by Gavin’s estate. All expenses as you settle in will be handled through me. But, beware, there will be hidden tests for you throughout this entire process. Tests that could make a lot of difference to each of you.”
Sheena exchanged worried glances with her sisters. She wished she’d asked their mother for more information about the uncle she was never to mention. And now it was too late. Their mother had died a little over a year ago.
“Live together in Florida for a whole year? Was Uncle Gavin crazy when he set up this deal?”
exclaimed Darcy. Her indignation was understandable.
Mr. Wilson stood. “I realize you all have a lot to talk about, a lot to think about. And let me know if you need any further clarification of the terms of the will. You are welcome to continue using this conference room, and please feel free to help yourself to any of the refreshments on the side table.” His lips curved with a touch of humor in what had been a mostly expressionless face. “Enjoy the challenge.”
After Mr. Wilson left them, Sheena sank back into her chair. Her mind raced at the thought of suddenly leaving Boston to go live with her sisters in Florida for an entire year. How could she do that? It would be difficult for her on many levels. They were sisters, after all, and like sisters everywhere, being together for too long sometimes caused battles to erupt. More than that, she had a family. And her husband, Tony, wouldn’t like the idea at all. Her children even less.
“What a joke,” said Darcy, shaking her head. “Living with the two of you for an entire year? Running a hotel? No way. And, Sheena, Tony would never allow you to do something like this. You’re what he calls ‘the Mrs’. And what about the kids?”
Sheena glared at Darcy. “Wait a minute! What did you mean by that ‘Mrs.’ remark?”
“Don’t take it the wrong way,” urged Regan. “It’s just that your family depends on you for everything. Especially Tony.”
Deep in thought, Sheena remained quiet. Tony was a good man who prided himself on always doing the right thing. And he expected her to fulfill what he thought was her proper role.
Though their relationship was still new when she got pregnant, Tony had stepped right up and offered to marry her to prevent her mother’s conservative church friends from counting on their fingers how long it took for their first baby to appear. It helped that their son, Michael Morelli, had started his life in the outside world a little late. Still, Sheena had always appreciated Tony’s consideration.
A worried sigh escaped her. She knew Tony wouldn’t support her being away from their family for an entire year. That would be going against his idea of her in the proper role of taking care of their family. And yet, with his business recently doing poorly, it might be an answer to their prayers—though Tony’s fragile ego might prevent her from actually saying so.
“What about you two?” Sheena asked. “You’ll have to quit your jobs. What then?”
Regan shrugged. “I don’t care. My job is boring—answering phone calls, greeting people and all. They’ll just find another receptionist to take my place.”
Darcy shook her head. “Receptionist? You were so much more than that. More like some kind of hostess with all those special meetings you helped them with. When I visited you in New York, I witnessed how it was—you serving them drinks before they went out to some business dinner.”
“What about you, Darcy?” Sheena asked. “You’ve got a very good job working in IT.”
Darcy grimaced. “Actually, I don’t like it very much. Working with numbers and codes all day isn’t that exciting. Mom was always so proud of me and my job that I didn’t dare tell her I wasn’t happy there. But, with her gone, I’ve been thinking of doing something else.” She smiled. “Maybe this whole thing isn’t dumb after all. Maybe this will be the beginning of something new for all of us.”
Sheena returned her smile. Put this way, it sounded wonderful. If, only…
###
 
About the Author

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Judith Keim was born and raised in Elmira, New York, and now makes her home in Idaho with her husband and long-haired dachshund, Winston, and other members of her family. Growing up, books were always present – being read, ready to go back to the library or about to be discovered. Information from the books was shared in general conversation, giving everyone in her family a wealth of knowledge and a lot of imagination. Perhaps that is why she was drawn to the idea of writing stories early on. Judith particularly loves to write novels about women who face unexpected challenges with strength and find love along the way.
Contact Links
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RABT Book Tours & PR

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