Today I’m excited to have Regina Andrews here! She’s an amazing author with fantastic reviews for all her books. She’s also a member of Jewels of the Quill, a group of award-winning writers. Regina is sharing a blurb, excerpt, and review of her new release, Praise of the Heart.
If you leave a comment on Regina’s post, your name will be entered to win an ebook.
CONTEST GIVEAWAY: The random winner will get to choose one of these following ebooks: Zoe Mack and the Secret of the Love Letters, The Stars at Night OR Praise of the Heart. It’s not too late to comment on Celia Yeary’s Friday’s post and K.Dawn Byrd’s last Monday’s post to increase your chances of winning!
CONTEST ENDS: AT 8:00 pm Eastern time ON FEBRUARY 3rd, Friday!
Sterling Lakes Book Three: Praise of the Heart Blurb:
Librarian Laura Matthewson is happy staying out of the limelight. But when Cliff Markham returns home to Sterling Lakes, will she be able to resist his magnetic star power?
When Cliff ‘Clean-Up’ Markham, pro baseball star, returns to Sterling Lakes to help with the St. Luke’s Church Renovation fund-raiser, he discovers that a problem with the town water source threatens the entire project. He asks Laura Matthewson, town librarian and archivist, to help him out researching the truth of the issue. Reluctant to get involved, Laura’s faith is put to the test as she pits her will against God’s. Will she be able to overcome her reservations to help the town she loves? More importantly, will she answer God’s call about the direction of her life and her future?
As he viewed the scene in the St. Luke’s Vacation Bible School picnic area, Cliff ‘Clean-Up’ Markham adjusted the brim of his baseball cap and said a silent prayer of thanksgiving.
You brought me back here to Sterling Lakes, Lord, safe and sound again after another year and for that I give You thanks.
He eyed the group of somber children sitting dutifully on the benches. Not all of them are as fortunate as I am. I’ll never forget the gifts You gave me, and I will always praise You for them. But, come on, we’ve got to liven this place up. They need spirit. Your spirit, Lord. Help me impart the joy of your spirit to them. Amen.
Bounding across the lush, green lawn on the long legs that had been his ticket to a career as a major league baseball outfielder, Cliff cried, “Play ball!”
Every head turned his way, and soon the lawn was a kaleidoscope of color and motion as the youngsters flew across the grass to him.
J.B. Norwood, head of the St. Luke’s Vacation Bible School exclaimed, “It’s Cliff! It’s Cliff! He’s back! Hi there, Clean-Up!”
“Clean-Up!” A laughing group of children reached him, swarming him before any adults.
“There you are, Russell. Jeremy, whoa, you got tall. Hey, Margaret, how’ve you been? Say, Bucky, what’s up?”
“They call me Billy now,” the boy replied, kicking the ground.
“Right. Good to know.”
Cliff reviewed the sea of faces before him — some familiar to him and some new from last year’s session. In each one he read hope, youth, goodness… and a desperate need for direction and connection.
Then he saw her. Standing by the edge of the grass. Tall, wearing a blue dress. A vision like something from the pages of a magazine.
He smiled, and she walked towards him. Her long, dark hair swayed gracefully with her every rhythmical step. She was in her early twenties, he guessed. She smiled, and Cliff felt the ground shudder under him.
Beaming, she opened her arms and said, “Children, give Mr. Markham some room to breathe, okay? Why don’t we go sit together under the apple tree?”
“Miss Laurie, he’s here to play, not sit around,” came an instant protest.
“Russell, you have a good point. Let’s let our star attraction decide.” She tilted her head to one side and with a mischievous half-smile, fixed her gaze on Cliff.
Not many times in his twenty-six years had Cliff Markham been stopped short. Life to him was a big game — fun, baseball, travel, women. Good times seemed to flow his way with his natural charm and ease.
Until now. The challenge radiating from those dark brown eyes stopped him in his tracks, and right away he knew he was in big trouble.
He took a few steps towards her and held out his hand. “We haven’t been properly introduced, Miss Laurie. I’m Cliff Markham. From Sterling Lakes. I play baseball with Tampa Bay Stingrays these days.” He shrugged.
Review by Suzie Carr
Andrews has written a gem with this one. The way she weaves her characters in and out of real life scenarios pulls at the heartstrings and keeps me yearning for more. Incredible story that will continue to resonate deeply long after you put it down. I’m a fan!