Excerpt and Sweepstakes: Two Hearts in Winter by Donna Fasano
Two Hearts In Winter
by Donna Fasano
Series: Ocean City Boardwalk, #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 15, 2016
Loss and betrayal have caused Heather Phillips to give up on love. She’s thrown herself into running The Lonely Loon, her Bed and Breakfast located on the boardwalk of Ocean City, Maryland. The “off season” in this tourist town is usually a time of rest and reflection for her; however, DB Atwell, a famous author, arrives at The Loon for the winter to finish his long-overdue novel. Daniel, too, has faced grief, and tragedy continues to haunt him. Once Heather and Daniel meet, their lives will never be the same.
Reminiscent of Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks and culminating in a happily-ever-after similar to the great Nora Roberts, Two Hearts in Winter is a story about learning to let go of the past, about realizing that, though hardship affects us, it need not define us, and about coming to understand and truly believe that beauty is sometimes covered in scars. The human heart has an amazing ability to forgive, to heal, and to hope, especially when touched by love.
It wasn’t Heather’s aim to embarrass the girl; she just wanted to cut through the lies to get to the truth as quickly as possible.
“Listen, hon.” Heather leaned forward. “Why don’t you tell me what this is all about?”
She smiled, but she had to admit, after speaking with the woman at Atlantic Coastal this morning, she’d felt completely stumped. Why in the world would this girl approach her like she had? Why would she lie?
“I’m tired of proofing,” Sandra finally said. “And I don’t want to be an editor. I want to be a writer. And paying writing gigs are few and far between in this business. Newspapers are shutting down. Everyone is going digital. It’s… it’s hard.”
Heather gently pried the plastic lid off her tea. She lifted the rim to her mouth and took a sip. The heady tastes hit her tongue: cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, and the richly scented steam wafted around her face.
The answer Sandra gave was completely plausible. It seemed like a perfectly natural thing for a journalist wannabe to do… write an interesting story about The Lonely Loon and present it to the magazine’s publisher as proof of her writing skills.
Heather nodded. “I see.” She set the cup down again, pleased by the calm demeanor that she’d been able to present. As she’d driven over to the west side of town, she’d fretted about the confrontation. But it had been simple, really. Just asking for the simple truth had been the best solution.
There were still a couple of questions niggling at her, though. “But why lie?” she asked. “Why didn’t you just tell me you were going after a writing job at your magazine?”
Sandra’s chin tipped up, and she unwittingly slid her palm over the silver laptop that sat on the table, her gaze zeroing in on Heather’s face. “You would have helped me get a story?”
“Of course, I would help you.” Heather smiled. “I like to see people succeed. If I can help you, I will.” You silly twit, whispered through her mind, but luckily she was able to keep the offensive moniker from slipping off her tongue. “Who wouldn’t like to help someone advance in their career?”
“Oh, wow,” Sandra gushed. “I don’t know what to say. I just… this is so nice of you.”
Heather’s smile widened. Now that the truth was sitting like an open book in front of them, they could get down to work. She could tell Sandra that her mother had been the one who had established The Lonely Loon, and she could explain where the name had come from. And how she’d taken over the business after her mother had died of breast cancer. She’d be sure to name a few of the neighboring boardwalk businesses and their owners to offer as much promotion to her friends as she could. The owners of the shops, restaurants, and hotels on the boardwalk were a tight-knit group.
Sandra reached into her satchel and pulled out an eight by ten piece of paper and slid it across the table.
“What’s this?” Heather asked.
As her eyes scanned the short, full-caps header—WRITER DB ATWELL’S DAUGHTER MISSING. Heather’s blood froze and she felt like she were sitting in a vacuum.
“This is the story I want.” The words burst from Sandra like blustery wind during a nor’easter. “I have a friend who works at the Associated Press. He sent this to me just before Christmas. It’s taken me weeks to track him down. DB Atwell, I mean. The teachers at his daughter’s school aren’t talking. His publisher isn’t talking. Even his agent blew me off.”
Heather watched Sandra’s mouth moving, she even heard the words, but the situation had taken such a bizarre turn, that she felt truly dumbfounded.
“I’ve tracked him to Ocean City, I believe,” Sandra continued. “And although I haven’t seen him, I’m pretty sure he’s hiding out at your B&B. He’s the one you mentioned yesterday, isn’t he? The guest who needs quiet. I want you to tell me about him. I need you to tell me everything you know. About him. And his missing daughter.”
USA Today Bestselling Author Donna Fasano has written 35 romance and women’s fiction titles. Her books have won awards, have been translated into two dozen languages, and have sold 4 million copies worldwide.