“A pure delight! I fell in love with Jack instantly—and the storybook town of Capehart Bay.”
—Lily Silver, Author of The Rock Star Next Door
Lorna Lindstrom and Jack Young just got married in the tropics—and their grownup kids don’t like it one bit...
Mere acquaintances in their hometown of Capehart Bay, Wisconsin, Jack and Lorna turn up on the same Caribbean cruise. They soon fall victim to moonlight, champagne, and dancing—and that leads to an impulsive wedding. But now they’re back home, feeling like a couple of fools. Both agree a quick divorce is their best way out of this embarrassing predicament. Lorna’s two kids and Jack’s daughter are all for that, but their meddling prompts the stubborn newlyweds to rethink their plan.
A professional organizer, Lorna is a little too proud of her spotless home. She fell in love with Jack’s generous heart, but must he rescue every abandoned dog in town? The owner of a popular ‘60s nostalgia café, Jack feels right at home in Lorna’s bedroom, but he might as well be a stranger everywhere else in her perfect house. Suspicions that Lorna’s up-and-coming professor son-in-law is a womanizer soon pushes Jack into a different kind of rescue mission. Meanwhile, Lorna steps up and organizes her elderly father-in-law’s move and offers her support to Jack’s daughter in a crisis with baby Joanie. Too bad those classic “irreconcilable differences” appear to doom the pair, even as their kids are beginning to warm to the marriage.
Maybe sharing a couple of romantic dances on the night Jack launches his Blue Sky Nostalgia Music Festival can bring this “opposites attract duo” together again. Will Jack and Lorna decide they can find a way to make peace with their dueling quirks and have some fun with their second-chance romance?
Characters tend to come to me within a situation—a dilemma—and it’s so exciting when the people start filling out their own stories. And I soon begin to picture them, too. The Jacks of Her Heart is a little lighter in its storyline than my other books, and I jokingly refer to it as the “revenge of the middle-aged.” I had overheard some adults in their twenties speaking somewhat critically about their parents—but the remarks struck me as comical, rather than mean. That sparked some thought about what would happen if a couple of casual acquaintances went off with a tour group and fell in love on a tropical cruise—the dancing and music and moonlight got the better of them and they impulsively married! What would their grownup kids think?
It was great fun to create Jack, an intuitive laidback kind of guy, who owns Both Sides Now, a ‘60s and ‘70s nostalgia café, and then pair him with a woman who loved order and organization so much she created a business as a professional organizer/lifestyle coach (whose late husband happens to be named Jack, too). For their own reasons, this couple’s adult children are vocal in their disapproval of their parents’ hasty marriage. Jack and Lorna figure they’re just stubborn enough to prove the meddlesome kids wrong. But, since they’re practically strangers, they encounter a few bumps—big ones, too.
Lorna and Jack also find themselves involved in each other’s families. Their lives become intertwined and the more I wrote about them the more “heart” they revealed. Whether it’s rescuing dogs or caring for an elderly parent or a toddler grandchild, they end up closer, but unfortunately, more conflicted, too.
The Jacks of Her Heart is book 1 of The Capehart Bay series. I became so fond of Lorna’s best friend, June, I had to write her story, too. The series approach gives me a chance to show a group of people in a small Wisconsin town, I named Capehart Bay, which has become its own character, too.
Lorna inched to the edge of her bed, but before sliding out, she glanced over her shoulder to watch the even rise and fall of Jack’s back under the sheet. If she rolled toward him she could reach out and rest her palm against his bare shoulder and soak up the warmth of his skin. No. The man’s warmth—on all levels—got her into this trouble in the first place. That and moonlight, and okay, since she’d started a list, she might as well add the long nights of delicious slow dancing.
Once out of bed, Lorna tiptoed to her reading chair in the corner, retrieving her bra and panties from the floor along the way. Then she pulled the throw off the back of the chair and wrapped it around herself like a towel. Only dim light seeped through the closed blinds, but she felt around the floor and came up with the silk shirt and slacks she’d worn on the flight home the night before. With her clothes draped over her arm, she stepped around the open suitcase blocking the way to her bedroom door. She reached for the doorknob, ready to escape, but took a last look at the scene she was about to leave behind.
A trail of jeans, a sport jacket, and a dark blue shirt led straight to the mound in the bed named Jack Young, age fifty-two, noteworthy only because, by coincidence, she and Jack were mere months apart in age.
Loathing messes as she did, it took all Lorna’s strength not to grab the two half-empty glasses and the champagne bottle that sat as accusers on her nightstand. She slipped into the hallway and shut the door behind her. Home free—more or less. Leaning against the wall, she closed her eyes and exhaled a long breath to quiet her jittery stomach. It worked for a second or two. Next step, get to June’s house as fast as her legs would carry her there.
Lorna brushed her teeth and dressed quickly in her guest bathroom before grabbing her winter jacket off the hook in the kitchen. She escaped through her back door and jogged down the slope of her yard that led to the footpath bordering the lake, the fastest route to June’s house.
She maneuvered around the muddy patches and pools of water left behind from last night’s rain. The dampness left the April morning air fragrant with the promise of spring. Lacking a breeze to disturb it, the lake perfectly mirrored the trees and houses lining the water’s edge. In the stillness, the sounds of a barking dog and children’s voices carried across the water from the opposite shore. A mere day ago, she’d been more than a thousand miles away, tilting her face toward the sun and sighing from happiness as sultry tropical air caressed her skin. She and Jack had made love to the nearly imperceptible rhythm of the cruise ship, dodging any talk of what they’d do when they arrived back home in Wisconsin.
What a disaster. Maybe she’d try to make light of their escapade. After all, Jack was a decent man, a really great guy, if also thoroughly unsuitable for her. He also had a terrific sense of humor. Maybe they could have a good hoot over their silly mistake. “Isn’t this the funniest thing?” she could say while trilling in a charming sort of way. Ha ha, titter titter. She could hold out her hand in a gesture of friendship. “What do you say? We figure out the easiest way to put this embarrassing little episode behind us?” More light-hearted laughter.
At last June’s white frame cottage came into view. Lorna hurried up the stone path and through the picture window spotted her friend standing at her kitchen table with a tall pile of laundry in front of her. Lorna waved to get her attention and when June looked up her face broke into a welcoming smile.
“Come in, come in,” June said after she’d opened the door and with a sweeping gesture invited Lorna inside. “I hoped you’d come over this morning. Help yourself to coffee and tell me all about your exciting cruise while I make my way through my boring laundry basket.”
Shrugging out of her jacket, Lorna peered around the corner of the kitchen into the hallway looking for any sign of June’s nine-year-old. “Is Bonnie gone?”
“The school bus picked her up a little while ago. Why?”
“I want to be sure we’re alone.” Lorna surveyed the table, with the laptop and a pile of fat file folders and legal pads at one end and the heap of laundry at the other. A full basket of clothes sat on the floor. “You’re really busy. I could come back later.”
“Don’t be silly,” June said, shaking out a crumpled bath towel. “This is laundry, not legal analysis.”
Lorna filled a mug from the carafe and went back to the table. Then she drew in a breath. “I’ve done something really stupid.”
June’s eyes narrowed. “Sit down and tell me about it.”
Lorna made a fast decision to blurt it out. “I got married. To Jack Young. In the Dominican Republic…”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
A lifelong writer, Virginia McCullough has coauthored or ghostwritten over 100 books for doctors, therapists, lawyers, professional speakers, and many others. Her other award-winning novels include Amber Light, Greta’s Grace, The Chapels on the Hill, and Island Healing. The Jacks of her Heart is Book 1 of her Capehart Bay series. Asked to sum up the themes of her fiction, she says her books are all about hope, healing, and plenty of second chances.
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