No Greater Loss is my first contemporary inspirational romance. Although it’s fiction, I used what I’d learned from remodeling our old house in writing about Jennifer’s place. My husband and I lived in a house needing so much work to make it more livable. We were newlyweds when we moved there and we didn’t even have running water in the kitchen. Just like Jennifer in No Greater Loss, we had a furnace right in the living room. There were a lot of odd things in that place and we lived there for 12 years. So if you read my book and think how that doesn’t sound possible, believe me the house flaws are based on our first home. But wonderful memories were made there since five of our children were born during that time and we had many happy times in an old home which had a great deal of character.
I just shared this particular excerpt about Luke Brunsman, the building contractor, and Jennifer Hunter, a psychologist, on the Samhain cafe and received such lovely responses to it. Hope you enjoy it, too!
Excerpt - No Greater Loss
by Diane Craver
He stood and put the book back on the desk. he ran his fingers over the lovely pinewood. “Nice desk. Did you refinish it?”
She nodded. “It was hard because of all the layers of paint on it.”
“You’re good at stripping, huh?”
“Pretty good.” She thought about reminding him they’d talked about her stripping the woodwork to save money.
“An experienced stripper.” He gave her a mischievous smile. “I’d like to see more.”
She gasped at his suggestive tone. “You’re terrible. And you say Paul is after my body.”
He grinned. “Hey, what are friends for?”
She decided to change the topic from strippers to something safer. She went to the desk and retrieved a paper which she handed to Luke. “Here’s the inspection paper I had done by a building engineer before I bought the house.”
He glanced at the report. “I’m glad the old roof was replaced since the weather’s unpredictable with winter coming. We need to take care of the outside of the house.”
“Harry suggested I get someone to put vinyl siding on it, but I’m not crazy about doing that.”
“I agree. Synthetic sidings can actually cause serious structural damage to old houses. And some of the adornments that give your old house its distinctive character have to be removed if aluminum or vinyl siding is used.”
“I can’t believe this. You, talking about character in an old house. I wish Harry could hear this.” She grinned. “The high ceilings add to its charm, too.”
“No argument there.” He put the report inside his jacket. “You need to replace these old windows and that’s going to cost you a bundle.”
She laughed. “Don’t worry, I’ll have money left over to pay you.”
“Glad to hear you have your priorities straight,” he said. “I better go. Have to get up early to take a certain psychologist to work.”
“I can drive to work.”
“But you mentioned you’re going in early tomorrow, we might as well go together.”
She hesitated because they’d already spent a lot of time together. Going to work with him might be a bad idea. “I have to stay late.”
“I don’t mind waiting.”
What was the big deal? She could handle riding to the city with him. “Okay.”
At the door, he put his head down and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “Bye, Doc.”
The kiss surprised her. She was speechless.
He turned the doorknob and the phone rang.
“Wait.” She didn’t want him to leave while she answered the phone. An emotional bond existed between them since they’d shared hurtful memories. And she wanted, on some level, to still reach out to him.
It was Natasha. She told her to wait a second.
She followed him outside. “See you tomorrow.”
A mixture of rain and snow fell on her face, but she stayed on the porch, watching him climb into his Cruiser. Before shutting the door, she waved to him.
She quickly apologized to Natasha for the delay, and went upstairs into her bedroom with the cordless phone. “How was the sleepover?”
“The usual, the girls stayed up until early morning. I tried to get you all weekend. Where’ve you been?”
“All over.” She proceeded to tell Natasha about meeting Luke at Harry’s and how soon after that, a customer went into labor and she delivered the baby.
“That’s exciting. While I was watching teenage girls pig out, you were bringing a new life into the world.”
She sat down on the bed to pull off her brown leather boots. “You’re not going to believe this, but Luke’s the one who tore down the old brownstone I loved and built that ugly new building. He offered Friday night to look at my house, and at first I didn’t want him to, then I changed my mind.”
“Opposites attract, you know. He’s a builder of new buildings and you love old houses.”
“We aren’t attracted to each other that way.” Natasha was already making them into a couple. And that wasn’t going to happen just because of a simple kiss.
“Is he gay?”
“No, he’s not gay.” Jennifer heard the excitement in Natasha’s voice and decided to lie down on the bed and get comfortable for the many questions she knew were coming. What does he look like? What age is he? Is he divorced?
“Is he drop dead gorgeous?”
“He’s not bald.” She sighed. “I know you’re hearing wedding bells already, but he’s not interested in getting married a second time. His wife just died a few months ago from cancer and he’s grieving.”
She didn’t mention that she still remembered her loneliness after Brad died and how incomplete she felt without her husband. Natasha would say they already had a bond since they were both widowed.