About the Book
Series: Isle of Hope
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Christian
Publication date: August 1. 2017
She’s bent on fun.
He’s bent on faith.
Till true love bridges the gap.
Cat O’Bryen is the prodigal daughter unhappy with God. First, the father with whom she reconciled dies of cancer and now her twin sister and best friend marries, leaving Cat at home with a newlywed mother, her new husband, and a little brother. But when Cat moves in with a roommate of questionable morals, her family is worried, certain she’s on a path that could damage her faith forever.
Reluctant to get involved with a woman like the one who destroyed his life, ex-Navy SEAL Pastor Chase Griffin steers clear of the attraction he feels for Cat O’Bryen. Until her family begs him to take her under his wing, hoping he can draw her back into the fold. But when the draw she has on him proves too strong to resist, he must rely on the strength of God to offer a friendship as steady and strong as the God whose love is wooing her home.
The Books in the Series
About the Author
Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. A lover of all things Irish, she enjoys writing close-knit Irish family sagas that evolve into 3-D love stories: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together.
Author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, and Heart of San Francisco series, Julie was named American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and has garnered 18 Romance Writers of America and other awards. Voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie was also named on Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction and Borders Best Fiction list.
Julie’s most recent novel, Isle of Hope was voted on Family Fiction magazine’s Best of 2015, and Surprised by Love appeared on Family Fiction magazine’s Best of 2014. Her independent novel A Light in the Window is an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers' Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner. Julie has also written a self-help workbook for writers entitled Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Sweet and Inspirational Markets. You can contact Julie through her website and read excerpts from each of her books at www.julielessman.com.
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Check out the interview HERE.
Author's Top 10 Favorites
Top 10 Favorite Pieces of Literature
1.) Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
2.) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
3.) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
4.) Sins of the Father by Susan Howatch
5.) Cashelmara by Susan Howatch
6.) Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt
7.) Bride of Pendorric by Victoria Holt
8.) Lowlands of Scotland series by Liz Curtis Higgs
9.) Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers
10.) Love’s Reckoning by Laura Frantz
10 Behind the Scenes Facts About the Book
1.) Book 1, Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love is loosely based on how God healed my own dysfunctional relationship with my father.
2.) Like IOH’s secondary hero, Ben Carmichael, my father was also a surgeon and a recluse.
3.) My dad, like Ben, had a dog named Beau that he took fishing with him.
4.) Like the heroine, Lacey, I also took meals over to my father’s house to try and make amends.
5.) And like Lacey’s situation, my father seldom talked to me when I did bring meals and never hugged me or indicated any love.
6.) Like the series’ secondary heroine, Tess, I was insanely jealous of boyfriends I dated and made a fool of myself many a time.
7.) The peach crumble pie Mamaw made was my favorite pie I made when I was young.
8.) When I originally wrote Isle of Hope, the O’Bryen’s and Carmichael’s docks were in their back yards, which I had facing the Skidaway River until I discovered during research that all the homes on Bluff Drive (where the O’Bryen’s and Carmichael’s live) face the river from the front of the houses, necessitating a walk across the street to get to each neighbor’s docks.
9.) When I wrote book 3, Cat and Chase’s story, I strongly felt it was going to have huge spiritual impact, but when I came close to the end, I was disappointed in the spiritual takeaway and hit the wall on the last four chapters. So I prayed for God’s anointing and creativity, and BOOM! He reminded me of the 2nd biggest spiritual lesson He ever taught me (the first being about how to forgive as depicted in book 1), so that’s the lesson Cat (and Chase!) learn too in the final chapters of His Steadfast Love, a lesson that literally changed my life.
10.) Lacey’s chocolate chip pie is one of my favorite pies I make today, and here’s the recipe:
Recipe: Chocolate Chip Pie (makes one pie), from: Julie Lessman, serves: 8-10
Cooking time: 350 degrees for 45 minutes or longer. Can leave out or refrigerate.
— 1 cup sugar
— ½ cup flour
— 2 beaten eggs
— 1 tsp. vanilla
— 1 stick butter
— ¾ cup chopped pecans
— ¾ cup chocolate chips
— 1 unbaked pie shell
— Vanilla ice cream and Magic Shell (optional)
Melt butter, cool in fridge while mixing sugar, eggs, flour and vanilla. Mix in butter, then add nuts and chocolate chips. Mix well. Serve on individual plates and microwave each piece for about 30 seconds or until warm. Serve with vanilla ice cream (I streusel Magic Shell over ice cream and top pie with whipped cream and strawberry).
This time he was ready for her, and with an easy twist, he scooped her up and launched her high in the air, her squeals bouncing off the water before she did.
A gush of water plumed, and Chase grinned outright when she shot from the surface, mouth going strong as usual. “Chase Griffin, you are the lowest, sneakiest, most diabolical—”
His laughter rang over the water. “Sorry, Catfish, but ‘diabolical’ belongs to you, kiddo, so I wouldn’t be throwing pitchforks if I were you.”
“And a p-pastor too!” she sputtered, still spitting water out of her mouth.
He cocked a hip on the edge of the board, thumbs hooked into the back pockets of his wet jeans. “That’s right, Catherine,” he said, his grin definitely ‘diabolical,’ “anything you need to get off your chest?”
“Come into the water, Rev, and I’ll show you ‘diabolical.’” She delivered a sweet smile that was anything but, paddling in place with a glint of dare in her eyes.
“Oh, no doubt about that,” he said with a grin, loosely crossing his arms. “But I’ll pass, if you don’t mind, and work on my tan while I fish.”
“Chase Griffin, you are nothing but a wet blanket!” she snapped.
“Yep, thanks to you,” he said with a chuckle, fetching his rod and tackle box and settling into his chair.
Nose in the air, she spun around in a swoosh to head to the neighbor’s dock, her strokes deft and sure like his demise would be if he got into the water with Cat O’Bryen. He was tempted to take a quick dive just to cool off because that minx sure had a way of heating him up, and they were just friends, for pity’s sake. God help him, he couldn’t imagine dating the woman, subject to temptation day in and day out. Those teasing eyes, that sexy smile, her flirtatious ways.
Those come-on kisses …
Heat engulfed him that had nothing to do with the sun beating down and everything to do with the vamp in the water. Although his mind was made up, Cat O’Bryen was too much of what his body and soul craved, and he wasn’t going there again. Ever.Especially not with a woman whose faith was as weak as water.
He glanced up from his tackle box, heart constricting when he saw Cat freeze in the water. “What’s wrong?” He shot to his feet.
“Cramps.” It was a strained response as she maneuvered to a dead-man float.
“Where?” His heart rate took off in a sprint, memories of a SEAL buddy dangerously compromised on a mission from severe abdominal cramps.
“Left leg.” Her voice matched the grimace on her face. “I’ll be fine … I’ll just wait it out.”
“Grab your toes on the cramped leg and pull toward you,” he ordered, gaze pinned to her body for any sign of distress, “then straighten your leg.”
Face pinched, she did as he instructed, her groans hitching his pulse. “Never this bad before …”
That’s all it took. The tackle box hit the weathered wood with a hard clunk as Chase dove from the dock, arriving by her side in mere seconds. “Any better?” He watched while she continued pulling and stretching, his breathing heavy as he hovered close, finally catching his breath.
“I’m not sure …” she said in a weak voice.
And then she lunged, stealing his air all over again when she brought him down, submerging him with a power that belied her small size. “No, wait …” She bolted away when he hit the surface, coughing up water. “Yes, definitely better now.” Her giggles bounced off the lake as she swam for the shore, arms slicing through the water with an efficiency that would outdistance most people.
But he wasn’t most people. He was a seasoned professional.
With a store of adrenalin usually reserved for workouts at the gym, work days at Lake Loon, or dangerous missions overseas, Chase easily overtook her mere feet from the sandy shore, clamping onto her foot to reel her in hard. One arm latched to her waist, he handily dunked her with the other, her shrieks and giggles lost in a tide pool of bubbles and foam. Quickly lurching her back up, he chuckled low in her ear as she kicked and squealed in his arms. “I thought I told you never to mess with an ex-Navy SEAL, Catfish,” he said with a husky chuckle, soundly dousing her all over again.
He released her, and she literally exploded from the water, twisting in the air like some headstrong sea nymph, taking him down with a grunt as she clung stubbornly to his head.
And didn’t let go.
They burst from the water as one, her body welded to his as she death-gripped his hair, obviously intent on one more plunge.
But the only thing that plunged was his gut when their eyes locked, the laughter in her face dissolving into something far softer and warm while her ragged breathing mated with his. Her gaze dropped to his mouth, and a tidal wave of want surged through his body, taking him down as easily as Cat had done with her well-placed dunking.
She absently licked her lips, and his stomach cramped with need as he fought the pull of her parted mouth, her shallow breathing in dangerous sync with his own. His eyelids felt as heavy as if he were drugged, arms slowly curling around her waist like they had a mind of their own. And God help him, they did, because he had little control as they drew her close, luring his mouth to hers with a low, aching moan.
She tasted like sheer heaven as he nuzzled the lips he’d dreamed about since the night she had kissed him in her room. Forcing himself to take it slow, he caressed her mouth with all the tenderness that swirled inside for a lost, little girl named Cat. But the moment a soft mew left her lips, he was a goner, his groan hoarse as he delved in to explore with a passion too long denied.
And that’s when he knew.
He was dead in the water.
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