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Since Karen Rock’s grandmother passed her shopping bagfuls of Harlequin Presents as a teen, it’s been her dream to add her voice to the Romance genre. Now an author of Harlequin’s latest contemporary line, Heartwarming, Karen is thrilled to pen wholesome, tender, deeply romantic stories that all can relate to. Her first novel, WISH ME TOMORROW, is out in September 2013 and her next, HIS HOMETOWN GIRL, is out in spring 2013. Additionally, Karen is a young adult contemporary romance co-author with fellow Harlequin author, Joanne Rock for the CAMP BOYFRIEND series that debuted July 2013 with Spencer Hill Press.
When she’s not busy writing, Karen enjoys watching anything starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, cooking her Nona’s family Italian recipes, and occasionally rescuing local wildlife from neighborhood cats. She lives in the Adirondack Mountain region with her husband, her very appreciated beta-reader daughter and two King Charles Cavalier cocker spaniels who have yet to understand the concept of “fetch,” though they’ve managed to teach her the trick! Hmmmm… wonder how that happened?! She loves to connect with other romance fans!
Please check out her website at http://www.karenrock.com, and her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/karenrockwrites. Follow her on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/karenrock5, and on Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/karenrock.
Without releasing her hand, he blurted, “Are you having a good time?” He almost smacked his head. What a stupid question.
Christie’s mouth quirked then grew serious again. “Actually. I am.” Her eyes met his, their gazes locked as tightly as their hands.
“I’m glad,” he heard himself say from some disembodied place that did not come from the land of reality and logic. “Happy you came.” He pressed her hand, exhilaration shooting through him when she squeezed back.
“Me, too. It reminds me of my dancing years. I wish Tommy could have been here.”
“Trust me. He’s sorrier than all of us combined. Poor guy.” He debated asking her the question that had been in the back of his mind. “Did your brother watch you dance?”
Christie’s lids lowered for a moment. In the silence, he gave himself a swift, mental kick. He wanted to know more about her, but not cause her pain. And her pale, clammy palm proved he’d done just that. “You don’t have to answer.”
When she reopened her eyes, her lashes were wet and spiky, but her voice was steady. “Before he got too sick, he always made these insane signs to make me laugh. Like ‘Christie the Great’ or ‘Christie is the Best Sistie.’ He did it to help me get over my stage fright, but the other girls made fun of it so I begged him to stop.”
He gathered her other, trembling hand.
“Now.” Her voice dropped to a notch above a whisper. “I’d give anything to have one of those signs.”
His heart expanded, wishing he could take away her pain. He’d gotten used to heartbreak. “You must have loved him very much.”
“Not as much as he deserved,” she said beneath her breath, more to herself, it seemed, than to him. “Excuse me.” When she scooted off to the ladies’ room, he berated himself. She’d done him a huge favor in joining him tonight—more than he’d guessed now that he knew about her brother. How brave of her to come to the recital for Becca, and him, when dance held such powerful memories.
He grabbed her shawl and purse and waited by the door into the auditorium. After a couple of minutes, she joined him, her cheeks damp but no longer ashen. When the crowd clapped inside the auditorium, they opened the door, tiptoed down the aisle and found their seats.
“I’m sorry Jacqueline didn’t come,” Christie breathed in his ear, sending shivers of awareness down his spine.
He looked into her earnest face and found himself unable to lie. “I’d rather have you here.”
Christie bit her lower lip then studied her lap. “I’m glad, too,” she surprised him by saying. Her shimmering eyes lifted to his.
His tight chest eased at her soft expression. They settled back in their seats and counted down the remaining routines, the silence between them as promising as the dancers who flitted gracefully across the stage.
Karen Rock’s romantic story of love, anger, and hope will capture your heart. But the novel doesn’t pull any punches as it realistically portrays a cancer patient’s life. And his family’s.
Eli Roberts, a handsome photographer who could melt almost any woman’s heart, is in remission, but the problems his illness created aren’t. His thirteen-year-old daughter is brilliantly portrayed by the author, making it evident that she’s had experience with young teens and understands their troubles. Eli’s son is also affected by the illness and aftermath, but at a younger age, he hasn’t pulled away. As they struggle to mend their fractured lives, grief counselor Christie Bates seems to be the only person who can bring the family together. Eli resists her positive attitude at first, but it’s not long until a spark ignites, becoming a flame that cannot be extinguished.
Anyone who has started the Young Adult Camp Boyfriend series by J.K. Rock (Karen and her sister-in-law, Joanne) knows their writing is superb. Wish Me Tomorrow, a Harlequin Heartwarming Romance, gives Karen even greater opportunity to use her skills, and I want to hide her metaphors and descriptions in a treasure chest to retrieve when I need inspiration for my own writing.
This is probably the most heartfelt book I’ve read in awhile, with a wide range of emotions, including courage, fear, and selflessness. And while Christie is strong and determined, she still struggles with her own vulnerability. Interestingly enough, these is something that draws Eli to her. Now she must find a way to convince him that she’s on his side, whatever happens.