Today ONCE MORE FROM THE TOP is up on BookBub in the UK, Canada, and India. I’m hoping that I get some Women of Willow Bay readers out of this promotion. I’m so bad at promotion, mostly because it hurts my heart to spend money on ads and then not even sell enough books to make back what I’ve spent. That’s happened. Fortunately, not a lot of money, but still . . . So hold a good thought, mes amies. In the meantime, I’m working on book 4 and having a great time with the newest Women of Willow Bay book.
Here’s a quick excerpt from Libby and Nick’s story:
The last thing Nick Collins expected when he knocked on the door of Nolan Farm Winery was an armful of warm, beautiful woman. He was only trying to find the owner of the lakefront property just south of Willow Bay lighthouse. When he peered in the door of the renovated old barn, all he could see was a huge Christmas tree and racks and racks of shining bottles. But the lights were on and when he tried the door, it was unlocked, although according to the sign, the place didn’t open for another hour and half.
Fact was, he hadn’t even intended to turn down Willow Point Road. But he’d been driving from Muskegon to Traverse City for a residents’ meeting when he noticed the sign for the lighthouse. He loved lighthouses and he’d never been to Willow Point before even though he’d passed the sign at least twenty times. He was always too busy, in a rush to meet with architects or builders or clients. But something made him turn down the road, drive past acres of fir trees and then rows of grapevines, and park in the small lot by the lighthouse.
The lighthouse was closed, but he got out anyway, just for a second, to take a look around. The white-painted brick structure sat on a hill above the rocky shoreline, its red roof contrasting against the blue of the sky, the glass tower gleaming in the morning sun. Shoulders hunched against the stiff breeze off the water, he walked around the building, read the sign in the front that shared some history, and then crossed the yard to peer down to the rocky coastline below.
According to the posted hours, he wouldn’t have time to tour the place today, so he made a mental note to return on the drive back to Muskegon. The sign also said something about being able to rent the old lightkeeper’s quarters for a vacation. Spending a week in a lighthouse? How cool would that be? He memorized the website URL and sauntered back to his car, stopping to survey the landscape just south of the lighthouse property.
A wide beach led back to an even wider expanse of dune and beach grass. Beyond that, farther east, was a huge old barn with decking on three sides, which he figured was probably the winery he’d seen a sign for on the way in. When he looked to the north and south of the barn, he again saw the neat rows of vines. Yes, that was . . . what was it again? Nolan’s Farm Winery. And wasn’t the Christmas tree stand at the corner also sporting the Nolan’s Farm name? Apparently the Nolans were an enterprising family.
He leaned against the hood of the car and peered past the vineyard. He could see rows of pines and remembered from his drive in that those took up at least twenty acres. He’d bet a bottle of good scotch there was at least one old farmhouse up there somewhere, possibly more than that.
His expert eye measured the vineyard and judged it to be roughly another ten acres or so. The dunes and beach grass that sat between the winery and the lake were maybe . . . what? Ten acres or twelve, tops. Beach frontage was maybe twelve hundred feet and change . . . so if the Nolan family owned all the way to the waterfront, then Nolan Farms was mostly likely a perfect quarter section of land—forty acres. Made sense. Before subdividing came along, land was purchased in quarter sections and he wouldn’t be a bit surprised to learn that the Nolan family had owned that quarter section for generations.
He pushed off the car and jogged down the parking area to where the asphalt road met the beach. A rock jetty thrust into the lake, making a breakwater in front of the lighthouse. Waves crashed against the huge stones, throwing mists up as high as the lighthouse grounds. At some point in time, someone had installed a steel seawall along the rocky shore fronting the property, probably to circumvent erosion. The jetty hid the steel seawall and the stones behind it made it appear that the jetty just curved around the lighthouse property. Pretty neat, really, although a concrete wall might have been sturdier.
Turning, he debated for less than five seconds before taking off down the beach adjacent to the lighthouse. The breeze was a bit chillier than it was in Muskegon and it fluffed his too-long grey hair into his eyes. He slicked it away from his forehead with one hand and continued down the beach, mentally assessing the land as he walked past it. Dammit, it was too freaking cold to see how deep the water was, but he could see a sandbar about fifty feet out. Definitely marina potential.
Nick shoved his hands into the pockets of his suit pants and turned around three hundred and sixty degrees, taking in the water, the beach, the grass-covered dunes . . . What a fantastic location—lighthouse, beach, trendy little winery, plus the area was a four-season playground, offering summer water sports and winter skiing—this was a developer’s dream. How had he never been here before?
Well, he was here now and unintentionally rescuing a very embarrassed lady. Nick leapt back from the ladder, but managed to use one foot to stop it from crashing into the tasting bar. The woman cringed and hid her face against his shoulder as the ladder rocked back and forth for a moment before settling back onto four legs. He shook the hair out of his eyes and took a good look at the lady in his arms.
She was truly lovely—medium-length brown hair streaked with snow white that was clearly the handiwork of God or genetics rather than a hairdresser, a soft peachy complexion that was enhanced, not marred, by laugh lines around her blue, blue eyes, and her curves fit against him as if she’d spent her whole life in his embrace. She didn’t struggle against his hold, but simply stared at him, eyes wide, arms around his neck, her breath coming fast.
“You okay?” he asked, his own breath hitching on the question. He really ought to put her down, but holding her felt so right he wasn’t inclined to set her on her feet just yet. Besides, he needed to make sure she wasn’t hurt and to find out why she smelled faintly of cake and cinnamon and, as she let out a sigh, coffee…