Two Ways Home (Love that Counts #2) by Sondra Kraak -- Book & Character Spotlight + Giveaway
About the Book
She’s about to lose her home. He never wanted to see his again. And a stalker is staking a claim . . .
Mary Smith was never one to back down from a challenge. Her father’s health may be failing, but their dairy farm was her mother’s dream, and Mary will do whatever it takes to keep her father from selling it—even if it means sneaking off to the next town to earn money by playing the piano in a questionable establishment. No one seems to understand why home is so important to her, least of all her childhood nemesis who’s just wandered back into town.
When injured Texas Ranger Luke Thomas is forced to return to Pine Creek, Washington, he’s hailed as a hero and thrust into the town’s first race for sheriff. But no one knows the secret he carried to Texas, nor the secret he’s brought home. Setting his perfect aim on returning south, he refuses to get tied down by the town’s admiration, his brother’s disapproval, or the spirited, hardworking dairy girl who’s less annoying than he remembers.
But strange things are happening at the Smith dairy and in Pine Creek, and Luke’s instincts tell him Mary is in far more trouble than she realizes. One thing is certain: “home” is about to get more complicated for them both.
About the Author
A native of Washington State, Sondra Kraak grew up playing in the rain, hammering out Chopin at the piano, and running up and down the basketball court. Now settled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children, blogging about spiritual truths, and writing historical romance set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She delights in sharing stories that not only entertain but nourish the soul. Her debut novel, One Plus One Equals Trouble, was a Genesis semi-finalist (2015) and the winner of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Unpublished Women’s Fiction Award (2015). Sondra has since published three novels.
Check out the author interview HERE.
Character Spotlight: Luke Thomas
I hope you enjoy getting to know Luke. He’s got a bit of an edge to him, like his counterpart Mary, but that edginess is borne from wounds. Beneath, he’s a protector, a pursuer of peace and justice, and a softy for his sister Grace’s best friend Mary.
Luke can match Mary’s banter comment for comment, as is evident the moment he returns to Pine Creek and they fall back into their usual way of relating to each other (from Mary’s point of view):
Not sure how to respond to Luke’s lingering, she returned to milking. “Did they get tired of your shenanigans and kick you out of the Rangers?” She bit her tongue against the banter that came too easily.
Luke shoveled the burnt mess to the side. “A man doesn’t need a reason to come home.”
“Calling Pine Creek home.” She smirked. Luke had never been shy about wanting to leave. “There’s something I didn’t expect to come out of your mouth.”
“Witty comments. Something I did expect to come out of yours.”
Fresh into town, and he was already drawing the snappy from her.
Luke settled on the stool in the stall across from her and tossed his hat five feet. It landed on a post, and he winked at her. “I—”
“—don’t miss.” She finished the statement with him, words she’d heard him say numerous times, primarily referring to his shot.
Here’s a look at Luke’s quirk about handholding and the moment he overcomes it (from his point of view):
He laughed, stood, and without much of a second thought, held out his hand.
Her gaze traveled from his hand to his eyes and back, questioning. He encouraged her with a nod, and she placed her hand in his. She tried to retrieve her hand after he’d pulled her up, but he kept it tucked in his as he led her toward the gate. He could make it to the gate. A hand was a hand. Five fingers. A palm.
Heat washed his face. A man wasn’t supposed to have such a visceral response to something that was nothing more than five fingers and a palm.
But it was so much more. He held a part of Mary, and for whatever reason, the joining of their hands felt more intimate than placing his lips on hers. He’d kissed his mother on the cheek, Helen, too. But his hand he’d kept back from others.
He passed the gate and kept going down the sloping path with her five fingers wrapped in his five fingers, palm against palm. Something like this should shoot panic through him. It didn’t.
She kept pace beside him, letting the distant chopping of wood, the birdsong, and a scampering squirrel provide the noise. When they reached the fork in the road that split to their homes, Luke stopped, stared at the hand in his, told himself the time had come to let go.
Mary pulled hers away. Round eyes on his, she stepped back one step, then two.
He nodded once, turned, and left, refusing to let his eyes linger on Mary. As for his heart . . . He’d given up telling it where it could or couldn’t linger.
Want to read more? Don’t delay! The $0.99 e-book sale ends tomorrow!
And meet Mary HERE.
Check out some other stops that discuss Two Ways Home...
Katie at Fiction Aficionado (interview, excerpt), Saturday, May 20
Kathleen Denly (game), Monday, May 22
Trisha at Joy of Reading (interview), Monday, May 22
Beth Erin at Faithfully Bookish (setting spotlight), Tuesday, May 23
Jessica at A Baker’s Perspective (spotlight on heroine), Wednesday, May 24
Sydney at Singing Librarian (interview, spotlight on hero), Thursday, May 25
Question: Have you read any of Sondra's books before? If so, what book did you read and what did you like about it? If not, what book of Sondra's interests you the most?
5/25/2017 11:28:07 pm
I haven't read any of her books yet ! I am looking forward to !
5/26/2017 05:57:17 am
Sondra Kraak is a new author to me. However, after reading the review on Two Ways Home I'm very much interested in not only this book to see what else she has out there.
5/26/2017 12:36:45 pm
I haven't read any of her books yet, but I do have One Plus One Equals Trouble and plan on reading it as soon as I whittle down my list of books to read. I have a pile by my chair to get through first. Looking forward to reading One Plus One Equals Trouble and Two Ways Home next. Thanks for the giveaway and good luck everyone.
5/26/2017 03:44:14 pm
I would love to read Sondra's books, especially her book 'Such A Hope'. It seems like a story I would like reading.
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