About the Book
Series: Willow Falls
Genre: Christian, Contemporary
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas LPC
Publication date: November 8, 2019
Months after submitting her first novel to publishers, Emily Hayes receives one response—a rejection. When famous artist Naomi Jasper offers her much-needed cash to finish writing, then cast and direct a play about Willow Falls’ colorful history, Emily faces a difficult decision—postpone rewriting her novel or accept the offer. Aware the project has a high probability of failure she attempts to recruit the one person who has the experience she needs.
Rachel Streetman is one audition away from jump-starting her lackluster acting career. When an unexpected incident sends her fleeing to Willow Falls and reeling back into Charlie Bricker’s arms, she reluctantly accepts Emily’s offer. An invitation to audition for a play in Atlanta’s premiere theater forces her to choose between loyalty and her life-long dream.
If anyone understands broken hearts, it's Willow Inn’s beloved innkeeper. Sadie Liles learned to live with the fact that love is the last thing she'll ever find. Then he walks through Willow Inn’s front door.
When a scathing blogger review and a negative Atlanta television newscast threaten Willow Falls’ premiere as a North Georgia tourist destination, the town council invests the remainder of its annual budget to hire a PR firm to restore the town's image. At a town-hall meeting, angry residents brainstorm ideas to address the problem. When a second Atlanta television station announces plans to film a segment for its Around Georgia series, residents dig deep to invest their time and limited resources to boost Willow Falls’ appeal.
As the town prepares for Redding Arms’ grand opening, five newcomers and one British tourist test the town’s quirky, lovable, argumentative residents. Dealing with the strife, bickering, and personal backstabbing challenges Willow Falls in ways the small town never imagined. Could it be that the trouble in Willow Falls is the very thing that reminds its residents that honesty, love, and loyalty to one another is what binds them together?
About the Author
Retired from a twenty-seven-year corporate career, Pat Nichols draws on her experience in seven different management positions working with hundreds of amazing women from all walks of life to create stories about women facing tension-laced challenges and heart-warming triumphs in the pursuit of their dreams. Her debut novel, The Secret of Willow Inn, Willow Falls series book one, released January, 2019. Book two, The Trouble in Willow Falls, releases November 4, 2019 and book three in 2020. Pat received a 2018 NGCWC Georgia Peach Awards for her short story, The Vet and Valentine’s Day, and a 2019 NGCWC Georgia Peach Award for Willow Falls series book three. She received the 2017 CRW Woman of the Year Award and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Word Weavers International. She has been featured on WATC Television Atlanta Alive and in Voyager Magazine http://voyageatl.com/interview/meet-pat-nichols-author-duluth/
Rachel Streetman stood on the sidewalk in downtown Atlanta and imagined living on the street. Sleeping in a doorway or on a bench in Centennial Park. Penniless. Alone. Men and women stepping around her as if she was nothing more than an obstacle blocking their paths. Children staring at her.
She tilted her head back and gazed at the top of the seventy-three-story circular Peachtree Plaza Hotel. Until a dizzy sensation threw her off balance and forced her focus back to ground level. She pressed her hand against a light pole. A week away from the most important audition in her life, she couldn’t risk passing out and breaking her arm or a tooth.
When the spinning stopped, she glanced at her watch. Fifteen minutes before lunch with her former assistant. She walked across the street and spotted a young man crouched on the sidewalk. His dog sprawled beside him. Brown hair brushed against his shirt collar. A scruffy beard covered the lower portion of his face. Was he the guy she’d befriended last year, before she resigned as vice president for her father’s company?
She moved closer and pushed her sunglasses to the top of her head. “Dennis Locke?”
His eyes widened. “Ms. Streetman?” He stood and wiped his hands on his jeans.
“It is you.”
“I’m sorry I haven’t been around in a while.”
“No need to apologize. I didn’t expect a fine lady like you to keep coming back.”
She swiped a layer of sweat from her lip. Should she give him money and walk away? Or do some audition pre-work for the role—Penelope, a homeless woman who finds a winning lottery ticket. She stepped beside Dennis, relieved he smelled of soap and shampoo. “Are you still staying at the homeless shelter?”
She leaned back against the wall. A man wearing expensive shoes and a three-piece suit tossed a handful of change toward the ball cap serving as Dennis’s collection plate. A quarter and three pennies missed the target and landed on the pavement. He moved past without making eye contact or uttering a word.
Heat crept up Rachel’s neck. “I guess he didn’t want those pesky coins rattling around in his pocket.”
“Don’t give him a hard time.”
“He could have said hello or at least nodded.”
Dennis shrugged. “Why would he?”
Rachel turned her attention to men and women rushing past without acknowledging their existence. “It’s like we’re invisible.”
“Easier for them.” He slid back to the pavement.
She sat beside him and imagined this was her spot, her cap poised for contributions. How would it feel to be hopeless and invisible, then suddenly have enough money to turn your life around? Frightening? Challenging? What if she had no place to go? No one to love?
She swallowed the lump in her throat as images of Charlie, Mama Sadie, Emily, and Willow Falls played in her mind. Her refuge. She glanced sideways at Dennis. Maybe he needed something … or someone to motivate him off the street. A bizarre idea bubbled up. “July Fourth is in a few days.”
He swatted a fly from his face and wiped sweat from his forehead.
Words tumbled off her tongue before she had time to think. “Why don’t you spend the holiday in Willow Falls with me and my family? Emily, my twin sister, owns a lovely inn. You can stay there.”
What are you doing, Rachel? You don’t need responsibility for a homeless man days before your audition. She pulled her knees up and wrapped her arms around her shins. Should she withdraw the invitation? Treat him like everyone who passed him by? She couldn’t do that.
“Look, I know I’ve caught you off guard. Frankly, I’m a bit surprised myself. The invitation still stands. I’ll come by the shelter on the third and pick you up.” She opened her wallet, removed all the bills, and dropped them in his cap.
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