Tuesday, November 4, 2014

RELEASE DAY: Laura J. Marshall "A Christmas Coffee"

Villa Bellissimo along with Master Chef Antonio Coronado invite you to Sicily where you will be immersed in the art and passion of Italian culinary delights.
Sarah Cooper is still trying to find her place in the world after her husband died two years ago on Christmas Day. When her parents give her an early holiday gift, it may be just the opportunity she needs.
Parker Matrone is the founder and CEO of the billion dollar company, Coffee Grounds (italicize business name). There’s something about Sarah he can’t resist, but he’s been burned before and is now raising his two young sons alone.
Will they decide loving again is worth the risk? And what of the antique Christmas quilt beneath which Sarah dreams of Christmas’ past, present, and future? Come explore Italy in this Christian Christmas romance where dreams do come true and life begins anew.
Life isn't a fairy tale. It can be heart-wrenching and painful.  Difficult times come to us all and many times they shape who we are and how we look at the world.  We can, however, find strength through the valleys as we learn to climb the mountains. 
Laura J. Marshall is a full-time mom of five boys. When not on active duty, she is the best-selling author of Christian romance.
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The bright mid-afternoon sun reflected off the water of the Tyrrhenian Sea as the cab drove past the ancient buildings of Palermo. The car slowed around curves then picked up speed as it barreled farther into the countryside with small condominium-type homes now lining each side of the road.
Sarah’s plane had landed an hour ago. Rolling down her window to view the house fronts painted in bright colors of blues, peaches, and yellows, she breathed deeply. Balconies decorated with lights and Christmas bulbs peered over the street as the car passed below, whispering of the residents inside and their holiday plans.
She strained her eyes drinking it all in. December was similar to early spring back in Iowa, 55 degrees and beautiful. The salt-filled breeze tugged at her long black hair as the car rumbled over the well-worn road.
It was an amazing Christmas gift. The day after Thanksgiving Sarah’s parents had sat her down and placed a large padded envelope in her hands. Her eyes had lifted to see her father’s own turn glassy as he watched her tear open the envelope.
“Are you okay, Dad?”
“I’m fine. Keep ripping in, darlin’.” His Texas handlebar mustache raised in a brief smile, and he blinked several times. The show of emotion was so unlike her Harley-loving dad. Sarah wanted to pause and comfort him, but at his urging she reached inside the package.
She had stared in disbelief at the airline tickets and brochure in her hand.
“It’s all paid. You’ll have to leave in a few weeks. The class starts the day after you arrive, and you’ll stay there in a room at the school.”
“But this is too much. You need to save for…for your retirement and your dream of traveling the country in the Winnebago.”
“Now, dear. It’s all settled,” her mother insisted. “We’ve been saving for years. Your dad and I are still on track, and this is our gift to you, for Christmas. It’s something fun.”
Sarah read the brochure aloud. “‘Villa Bellissimo along with Master Chef Antonio Coronado invite you to Sicily, where you will be immersed in the art and passion of Italian culinary delights.’”
She glanced wide-eyed at her parents, a tentative smile on her lips. The past two years had been the hardest of her life, dragging herself through most days just to get beyond the agony of Tim’s death and the ruin of the life they had, a life they were just beginning as a married couple.
The tragedy had happened on Christmas Day two years before. Tim had risen early, returning to their bedroom a short time later, humming and full of anticipation of the snowy forecast. Sarah had raised her head from the pillow, noting his impish smile as he announced the day’s weather. He was such a morning person, something Sarah was indeed not.
Inhaling the fresh smell of coffee and watching him place her favorite floral china cup and saucer, full to the brim, next to her on the nightstand, she said, “Tim, you are a treasure.” She rubbed her hands together and reached for the potent elixir. “Mmm, delicious. Merry Christmas, sweetheart.”
She held a hand out to him, but he paced the room looking out the window then returned. “We can hike the trail out back in the snow before we head to my parents’.”
 He stopped mid-sentence, his face creasing with pain. Putting his hand to his head, he gasped out, “Sarah!” Crumpling to the ground, he lay eerily still.

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