by Virginia'dele Smith
GENRE: Wholesome small-town romance
She inhales life with every breath. He’s suffered a world of pain. Can they rise above tragedy to find their happily ever after?
Maree Davenport refuses to let a tearful past rule her future. After losing her parents at the age of five, the big-hearted fabric designer is determined to embrace her feelings and find happiness no matter what. So when she literally runs over a handsome new firefighter in the produce section, the hopeless romantic is certain she’s just collided with destiny.
Everyone Rhys Larsen ever loved has died. And though he may have hit it off with the pretty girl at the store, the haunted EMT knows better than to let her into his heart. But when an accident leaves her wounded and in need of care, he vows to nurse her back to health.
As Maree struggles to break through the grieving man’s walls, she fears his deep-seated superhero complex will make him unreachable. And as Rhys grapples with trying to protect the beautiful woman from his curse, he worries he’ll have to choose between doing the right thing and true love.
Can this conflicted couple reconcile their opposite takes on adversity and find purpose in each other’s arms?
Grocery Girl is the touching first book in the Green Hills wholesome small-town romance series. If you like strong but vulnerable characters, emotional growth, and quaint backdrops, then you’ll adore Virginia'dele Smith’s celebration of joy.
“Is it safe to return to my candy store?” Mrs. Dawsey asked, beaming under his praise.
“Yes, ma’am. I’ll walk you and Maree back over,” he decided for everyone.
Mrs. Dawsey chattered like a magpie, telling Rhys everything she had noticed about the man in the alley. Rhys didn’t get too far away from her, but Maree was grateful that they went on ahead of her, since she was rather slow on the crutch. By the time she made it to the front door of her quilt studio, he had already seen Mrs. Dawsey to her store and even walked through it to make her feel safe and comfortable.
The short walk from her shop to Maree’s turned out to be plenty of time for Rhys's anger to resurface.
“Why didn’t you call me, Maree?” For a guy who liked to look down when he was unsure of what to say, he had no problem directing his stern gaze right through her eyes and into her heart.
Why must I love him so much?
“I called 911, Rhys. That’s what we all learned to do back in kindergarten, remember?” She was suddenly feeling a little testy herself.
“You just left,” he said, switching gears on her in a heartbeat.
“Yes, I—” She blinked a few times to catch up, but he stopped her before she could explain herself.
“I can’t protect you if you’re gone.”
“Rhys, you’ve taken the very best care of me this week. I can’t tell you how much that has mea—”
“Then let me take care of you now,” he interrupted again, obviously still antsy and agitated.
“No,” she replied.
“Because I can’t keep you safe.” His words were flat and defeated, said as both a question and a statement of fact.
“No, you can’t, Rhys.”
About the Author:
Ashli Montgomery is a wife, a momma, and an author whose passion is sharing love stories, books, quilts, yoga, recipes, and all of her favorite things in life. She is quilting to mend the mind by spearheading and educating a community of friends who love quilts and quilting but hate Alzheimer’s disease through Quilt 2 End ALZ, Inc. (https://quilt2endalz.org/) , a 501(c)(3) nonprofit she launched to use her quilting hobby as a platform to advocate for an end to Alzheimer's disease.
Ashli writes under the pen name Virginia’dele Smith to honor Syble Virginia Tidwell, Adele Gertrude Baylin, and Etta Jean Smith. These three cherished grandmothers were beautiful role models, teaching Ashli to love without judgment and to always put family first. Through Grandma Syble’s journals and appetite for books, through Momadele’s priceless cards and handwritten letters, and through many, many hours of visiting over fabric at Mema’s kitchen island, Ashli also learned to treasure words.
You are invited to join Ashli in Green Hills (https://www.facebook.com/groups/welcometogreenhills) and learn more about Virginia’dele Smith by subscribing to Ashli’s newsletter, The Gazette (http://eepurl.com/gJIDcv), at AshliMontgomery.com
Q&A With the Author
When did you first consider yourself to be a writer?
I’ve been blogging for over ten years, and I love sharing my thoughts through written words. I’m active on social media, posting on both Instagram and Facebook on a regular basis. I think I’ve felt like a writer through those avenues for many years. Seeing my début novel in print for the first time did bring tears to my eyes, but I didn’t see that moment as confirmation. I’m certain that I’ll never have that “I’ve arrived” feeling, but I do feel like a real writer.
What advice do you have for a new writer?
I started writing my book ideas in Word documents that never developed before I lost interest and had another story arc in my mind that started the loop over again. When I decided I wanted to finish a book, I researched the myriad of programs available to tutor and guide indie authors, invested in the one that felt right for me, and jumped into the curriculum with both feet.
Going through the course opened my eyes to so much. I realized that I was ignorant. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, so how could I know what to do or ask?
My advice is to get help.
What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
The love scenes. The buildup and the dialog in the sweet, tender, romantic moments are my favorite part of a book, and those are the easiest scenes to write. You didn’t ask, but editing is my least favorite part, by far!
What is your favorite part of this story?
My favorite part of this story is Chapter 24 titled “Mirror, Mirror” when Maree confronts the damages she incurred during her accident and the road to recovery she if facing. Rhys sets aside his personal worries to be there for her, to be exactly what she needs in that moment. The scene is full of tension and drama, and it’s a great one!
Which Character was the most fun to write about? Why?
I think Maree’s sister, M’Kenzee was the most fun to write. I love her sharp edges and dry wit. She has a huge heart on the inside, but she’s pretty prickly on the outside. She’s not easy to get close to without feeling the bite of her fierce strength. I can’t wait to work on her story as the lead character for Book 3.
Which Character was the hardest to write about? Why?
Maree was the hardest character to write. She is inspired by my daughter, who I say has the very best components from my husband and myself. She is caring and empathetic, slow to anger, quick to love, and truly beautiful on the inside as well as the outside. Sharing her habits and quirks with my main character was a gift; it was easy to display her strengths. But I also wanted to reflect the depth of her character and the wide range of emotions that are true to real life. In the end, I love that I illustrated how one can be kind and patient without being a doormat for the world to walk over.
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/virginiadelesmith
Virginia'dele Smith will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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