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Monday, July 6, 2015

The Jacks of Her Heart

The Jacks of Her Heart
by Virginia McCullough

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BLURB:

“A pure delight! I fell in love with Jack instantly—and the storybook town of Capehart Bay.”
—Lily Silver, Author of The Rock Star Next Door


Lorna Lindstrom and Jack Young just got married in the tropics—and their grownup kids don’t like it one bit...

Mere acquaintances in their hometown of Capehart Bay, Wisconsin, Jack and Lorna turn up on the same Caribbean cruise. They soon fall victim to moonlight, champagne, and dancing—and that leads to an impulsive wedding. But now they’re back home, feeling like a couple of fools. Both agree a quick divorce is their best way out of this embarrassing predicament. Lorna’s two kids and Jack’s daughter are all for that, but their meddling prompts the stubborn newlyweds to rethink their plan.

A professional organizer, Lorna is a little too proud of her spotless home. She fell in love with Jack’s generous heart, but must he rescue every abandoned dog in town? The owner of a popular ‘60s nostalgia café, Jack feels right at home in Lorna’s bedroom, but he might as well be a stranger everywhere else in her perfect house. Suspicions that Lorna’s up-and-coming professor son-in-law is a womanizer soon pushes Jack into a different kind of rescue mission. Meanwhile, Lorna steps up and organizes her elderly father-in-law’s move and offers her support to Jack’s daughter in a crisis with baby Joanie. Too bad those classic “irreconcilable differences” appear to doom the pair, even as their kids are beginning to warm to the marriage.

Maybe sharing a couple of romantic dances on the night Jack launches his Blue Sky Nostalgia Music Festival can bring this “opposites attract duo” together again. Will Jack and Lorna decide they can find a way to make peace with their dueling quirks and have some fun with their second-chance romance?


EXCERPT: 
Lorna inched to the edge of her bed, but before sliding out, she glanced over her shoulder to watch the even rise and fall of Jack’s back under the sheet. If she rolled toward him she could reach out and rest her palm against his bare shoulder and soak up the warmth of his skin. No. The man’s warmth—on all levels—got her into this trouble in the first place. That and moonlight, and okay, since she’d started a list, she might as well add the long nights of delicious slow dancing.

Once out of bed, Lorna tiptoed to her reading chair in the corner, retrieving her bra and panties from the floor along the way. Then she pulled the throw off the back of the chair and wrapped it around herself like a towel. Only dim light seeped through the closed blinds, but she felt around the floor and came up with the silk shirt and slacks she’d worn on the flight home the night before. With her clothes draped over her arm, she stepped around the open suitcase blocking the way to her bedroom door. She reached for the doorknob, ready to escape, but took a last look at the scene she was about to leave behind.   

A trail of jeans, a sport jacket, and a dark blue shirt led straight to the mound in the bed named Jack Young, age fifty-two, noteworthy only because, by coincidence, she and Jack were mere months apart in age.   

Loathing messes as she did, it took all Lorna’s strength not to grab the two half-empty glasses and the champagne bottle that sat as accusers on her nightstand. She slipped into the hallway and shut the door behind her. Home free—more or less. Leaning against the wall, she closed her eyes and exhaled a long breath to quiet her jittery stomach. It worked for a second or two. Next step, get to June’s house as fast as her legs would carry her there.

Lorna brushed her teeth and dressed quickly in her guest bathroom before grabbing her winter jacket off the hook in the kitchen. She escaped through her back door and jogged down the slope of her yard that led to the footpath bordering the lake, the fastest route to June’s house.

She maneuvered around the muddy patches and pools of water left behind from last night’s rain. The dampness left the April morning air fragrant with the promise of spring. Lacking a breeze to disturb it, the lake perfectly mirrored the trees and houses lining the water’s edge. In the stillness, the sounds of a barking dog and children’s voices carried across the water from the opposite shore. A mere day ago, she’d been more than a thousand miles away, tilting her face toward the sun and sighing from happiness as sultry tropical air caressed her skin. She and Jack had made love to the nearly imperceptible rhythm of the cruise ship, dodging any talk of what they’d do when they arrived back home in Wisconsin. 

What a disaster. Maybe she’d try to make light of their escapade. After all, Jack was a decent man, a really great guy, if also thoroughly unsuitable for her. He also had a terrific sense of humor. Maybe they could have a good hoot over their silly mistake. “Isn’t this the funniest thing?” she could say while trilling in a charming sort of way. Ha ha, titter titter. She could hold out her hand in a gesture of friendship. “What do you say? We figure out the easiest way to put this embarrassing little episode behind us?” More light-hearted laughter.

At last June’s white frame cottage came into view. Lorna hurried up the stone path and through the picture window spotted her friend standing at her kitchen table with a tall pile of laundry in front of her. Lorna waved to get her attention and when June looked up her face broke into a welcoming smile.

“Come in, come in,” June said after she’d opened the door and with a sweeping gesture invited Lorna inside. “I hoped you’d come over this morning. Help yourself to coffee and tell me all about your exciting cruise while I make my way through my boring laundry basket.”

Shrugging out of her jacket, Lorna peered around the corner of the kitchen into the hallway looking for any sign of June’s nine-year-old. “Is Bonnie gone?”

“The school bus picked her up a little while ago. Why?”

“I want to be sure we’re alone.” Lorna surveyed the table, with the laptop and a pile of fat file folders and legal pads at one end and the heap of laundry at the other. A full basket of clothes sat on the floor. “You’re really busy. I could come back later.”

“Don’t be silly,” June said, shaking out a crumpled bath towel. “This is laundry, not legal analysis.” 

Lorna filled a mug from the carafe and went back to the table. Then she drew in a breath. “I’ve done something really stupid.”

June’s eyes narrowed. “Sit down and tell me about it.”

Lorna made a fast decision to blurt it out. “I got married. To Jack Young. In the Dominican Republic…”

A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR:

1.What's the best and worst part of being an author?

Since I’ve been a writer all my adult life, for me, financial insecurity was always the worst part of being a writer. Oh, when I think about the negative voices that told me I’d never earn a fulltime income as a writer—it couldn’t be done! But I had a great business advisor who believed in me and emotional support from many quarters helped me make that happen—and prove the naysayers wrong. I found niche markets in nonfiction writing, including clients who were doctors and professional speakers and needed help with books, and that’s how I became a ghostwriter/editor and writing coach. Now, many years later, I’m pursuing my dream of writing novels. The best part of writing is the pleasure it brings me, and it’s allowed me to be independent and work for myself. I’m one of the lucky people who really loves to write!

2.Which book of yours is your favorite? Why

The Jacks of Her Heart is my current favorite, because I’m immersed in it, and I so enjoyed the ‘60s and ‘70s nostalgia theme and the idea of passion and chemistry between two fiftyish people. My other books certainly include humor—and lots of it—but they tend to focus on more serious topics of loss and crisis. My books all deal with hope, healing, and plenty of second chances. But The Jacks of Her Heart starts from a lighter-side premise of this couple’s impulsive marriage in the tropics. Seduced by moonlight and dancing and love and romance, they have to come home and “face the music.” 



3.What are your favorite authors in the genre that you write?

Now that’s an easy question. I’ve been reading Barbara Delinsky, Nancy Thayer, and Luanne Rice for years and years. Barbara O’Neal, Karen White, Cassandra King, Susan Wiggs, Diane Chamberlain, and Erin Hilderbrand came along, too, and I so enjoy what they bring to what I would call women’s fiction, or family drama/love stories, and sometimes romance.



4.Which of your characters is most like you?


I suppose I’d have to say that Lindsey Foster in Greta’s Grace is most like me—she jumps in without looking first, and sometimes speaks up without thinking. But she’s also a professional speaker and gives presentations about the power of women’s stories and friendships, areas that interest me. Like me, her work is important to her, and she has another trait I share—she’s curious and wants information about things, even if they aren’t any of her business. She’s physically a bit like me—but I gave her thick wavy hair, the kind I envy! (The digital edition of Greta’s Grace is currently the first book in a boxset called “Women of Today,” available on amazon.com. The print edition is available widely through online retailers.)

PLAY LIST:


The Jacks of Her Heart is a lighthearted story about finding love, the second time around. The romantic lead in this story is Jack, a laidback café owner who loves the nostalgia of music popular in the sixties and seventies. Listening to these songs provided great inspiration while I was writing the book, and they served as namesakes for the menu items in Jack’s café. Listing—or sing—along with these classic tunes.

California Dreamin’ (John Phillips, Michelle Phillips, 1965)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/california-dreaming/id160595564?i=160595610

Happy Together (The Turtles, 1967)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/happy-together/id79087172?i=79087150

Forever Young (Bob Dylan, 1974)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/forever-young/id181458392?i=181458740

Black Magic Woman (Peter Green, 1968, cover, Carlos Santana, 1970)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/black-magic-woman/id265816081?i=265816708

Wild Thing (Chip Taylor, cover, The Troggs, 1966)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/wild-thing/id5519761?i=5519739

Love Me Tender (Elvis Presley, 1956)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/love-me-tender/id217633715?i=217634062

Scarborough Fare (Traditional, cover, Simon & Garfunkle, 1966)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/scarborough-faire/id487969609?i=487969614

Knocking on Heaven’s Door (Bob Dylan, 1973)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/knockin-on-heavens-door/id157451373?i=157451710

Nights in White Satin (Justin Hayward, cover Moody Blues, album, Days of Future Passed, 1967)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/nights-in-white-satin-single/id50973?i=50942

Going to the Chapel (J. Barry, E. Greenwich, P. Spector, cover, The Dixie Cups, 1964)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/going-to-the-chapel/id778417979?i=778417997

Woodstock (Joni Mitchell, 1970)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/woodstock/id217611592?i=217611673

Mellow Yellow (Donovan, 1966)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/mellow-yellow/id388255900?i=388255993

Brown-eyed Girl (Van Morrison, 1967)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/brown-eyed-girl-single-version/id171111560?i=171111572

Roses are Red (Al Byron and Paul Evans, cover, Bobby Vinton, 1962)


Forever Young (Bob Dylan, 1974)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/forever-young/id181458392?i=181458740

A Whiter Shade of Pale (Keith Reid, Procol Harum, 1972)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/a-whiter-shade-of-pale/id389238?i=389236

Sweet Surrender (John Denver, 1974)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/sweet-surrender/id216424764?i=216426228

Peaceful, Easy Feeling  (Jack Tempchin, cover, The Eagles album, 1972)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/peaceful-easy-feeling/id635829435?i=635829534

Chelsea Morning  (Joni Mitchell, 1968, cover, Judy Collins album “Living,” 1971
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/chelsea-morning/id74769392?i=74769080

Here Comes the Sun (George Harrison, 1965)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/here-comes-the-sun/id401186200?i=401187150

Good Vibrations (Brian Wilson and Mike Love; The Beach Boys album, All Summer Long, 1964)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/good-vibrations/id794095053?i=794095205

Strawberry Fields Forever (John Lennon, 1967)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/strawberry-fields-forever/id400835735?i=400835740

I’m Into Something Good (Gerry Goffin and Carole King, cover, Herman’s Hermits, 1965)



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

A lifelong writer, Virginia McCullough has coauthored or ghostwritten over 100 books for doctors, therapists, lawyers, professional speakers, and many others. Her other award-winning novels include Amber Light, Greta’s Grace, The Chapels on the Hill, and Island Healing. The Jacks of her Heart is Book 1 of her Capehart Bay series. Asked to sum up the themes of her fiction, she says her books are all about hope, healing, and plenty of second chances.

Website:  http://www.virginiamccullough.com/

Newsletter:  http://virginiamccullough.us3.list-manage.com/subscribe?
u=e79f425dc656ab237e3bb869e&id=51f9f1aead

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/virginia.mccullough.7?fref=ts

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VEMcCullough

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/468913.Virginia_McCullough?from_search=true


Virginia will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Use the link before to enter. You can find her other stops at http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2015/05/vbt-jacks-of-her-heart-by-virginia.html

a Rafflecopter giveaway


8 comments:

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Edward said...

Awesome Giveaway, thank you.

Rita said...

I liked the excerpt, thank you.

patrick siu said...

I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

Edward said...

With all your works, where does your inspiration come from?

Victoria Alexander said...

Great post..I enjoyed the excerpt. Thanks for sharing :)

Ree Dee said...

I enjoyed reading more information about the author and the playlist! I think we're from the same era cos it contains alot of my favorites! Thank you!

Mai T. said...

If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living?