Today’s question: How do you feel sexy in minus 39 (F) degree weather?

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2 sexy

Today’s question: How do you feel sexy in minus 39 (F) degree weather? Back to this in a moment.

We’ve all had this experience… we get word that a friend or beloved family member has passed, and scurry to arrange our lives to attend the funeral or memorial service. Sometimes these events only touch the surface of our hearts—maybe we weren’t close to the one who passed and so it’s more of an obligatory act of respect.

Other times, it ruins us… for a day… a week… years… and for some, even a lifetime.

A week ago, I set aside a day to drive three hours one way, across a little-traveled highway to attend a funeral. My friend Laura’s father passed unexpectedly. He was only 68.

I grew up in the heart of a large city, and have lived in the suburbs most of my adult life. I’ve never had the experience of living rurally. Freeways and well-traveled city streets—that’s how I get around.

minnesota-mapAnd so, I  didn’t even realize there are still two-lane highways that stretch out across the flatlands, the prairies, the rolling hills, around the many lakes (frozen this time of year), and the richly wooded areas that make up the beautiful state of Minnesota.

January 15th—the very heart of winter. Here in Minnesota, that means sub-zero temperatures, generous and frequent snowfalls, icy roads, short days with scant sunlight, none of which makes for favorable travel across the state on a two-lane highway, to a tiny town I’d never heard of before. I don’t have a GPS, and I wasn’t 100% certain my directions (downloaded from the Internet) were accurate. We’ve all “been there”, right?

*smile*

I watched the weather reports aware that if I drove to the funeral, I had a very small window of (weather) opportunity. I’d have to be up at 6 AM, on the road by 8 AM, arrive in time for an 11:00 funeral, allow 90 minutes for the funeral and a quick hug for my grieving friend, and back on the road by 12:30 so that I could be home before the worst of the snow fell making the roads treacherous.

And then it occurred to me… this would be so much easier to do with a friend. So I called Sandy, a mutual friend whom I’ve never spent time with outside of work or a group of acquaintances, and we agreed to go together… and she was more than happy to drive.

So… true confession moment… {sigh}… I’m kind of a control freak. (Who isn’t?)

*smile*

And I generally prefer to be the driver.
And, I’d never ridden with Sandy before.
And, I sometimes have issues with motion, so a smooth driver is really important.
And, what if she wasn’t a good driver.

You see, the list goes on and on…

*another smile*

But, as I weighed the above list against driving… the only thing to do was to get quiet—to meditate—to center myself—after which I hoped to be able to just allow the day trip to simply unfold.

The day of the funeral, the temperature was minus 8 F with a bitter windchill of minus 25 F. We got a late start, the directions downloaded from the Internet were slightly inaccurate—enough to make us wonder if we’d get there at all—we were stuck behind slow moving cars for most of the drive. Fortunately, the funeral started late—in a tiny town that, unless you happen to live there, no one has ever heard of—in a forgotten farming community—yet, more than 400 people showed up!

And there, in the front of the church sat a shiny ancient John Deere tractor. The first tractor the family had ever had—a fine tribute to the man who not only farmed—but who believed in farming.

john-deere-tractor-04

Sandy and I surveyed the area. No place to park. I was in heels and a knee-length skirt. Sandy had dressed a bit more practical and wore woolen slacks. She offered to drop me off and normally I would not have agreed, but it was so close to 11:00, and I felt compelled not to argue—a strong, intuitive nudge that I knew was important to listen to.

And so I simply agreed, trying not to feel guilty that Sandy would probably have to walk two or three blocks back to the church, across icy streets and sidewalks, after she found a parking spot.

I stepped into the church—actually, I was blown in on an unforgiving gale that nearly toppled me forward (really, it wasn’t the high heels!)—just as Laura and her family were moving away from the casket that cradled her father’s body. Laura was crying loud, broken tears—the kind that rip out the back of your throat—and fill your eyes, blind. She stumbled and then swung in my direction as if someone had pointed and said, “Look, Rebecca’s here.”

Laura propelled herself into my arms. We clung to each other—locked in grief and love. I have often felt that Laura is the daughter I never had. And as I held this lovely woman, who in that moment was so broken by grief, I felt humbled by the immense power of love. The force of friendship. The bond of connection. The strength of people interknit by the grace of community, hard work, and common faith.

When she could speak, she asked me to stay after the service until they returned from the grave site.

“Of course,” I murmured.

Meanwhile… Sandy walked four blocks in minus 8 F weather after parking the car, and blew into the church much like I had. We squeezed into the back of the sanctuary and sat watching the bowed, balding and greyed heads of so many farming families, their bodies bent and grisly from the labor of their work. We listened to the words of the Lutheran minister with his slight Scandinavian accent who clearly knew Laura’s father well. We sang from an outdated Lutheran hymnal, sat in the vibration of the soloist’s voice who sang The Lord’s Prayer, watched in silence as Laura, her two sisters, and their mother grappled with the moment they would say good-bye to this giant of a man who was the cornerstone of their family.

The service ran long…

The family was delayed at the grave site.

Starving, Sandy and I waited, and were the very last to go through the food line. We loaded scalloped potatoes with ham, and green bean casserole onto our paper plates, picked up a cup of stout, black coffee and crowded in (butt-to-butt) at the long tables in fellowship hall where we listened to more stories about Laura’s dad, and of course, when people found out we were headed back to “the cities”, dire predictions about the weather—which was turning (for the worse) while we sat—waiting—keeping a vigil for Laura.

Because she asked us to.

We were way off schedule by the time we left that tiny little town, the wind whistling at our back… until we hit the highway… and then it blew straight into us, icing the windshield, frosting the surface of the highway, creating an icy road.

blowing-snow

It’s been a week since that trip, and just now I sent off an email to Sandy, whom I haven’t connected with since the funeral.

Dear Sandy,

I’ve been meaning to drop you a line.

I felt your heart… while you were driving like a champ… while we were sitting in the back of the church where our friend has done so much of her growing up… taking a break from the treacherous drive back to eat really awful (how old were they???) treats in a bakery that looked so charming from the outside… making our way over a highway as it began to ice… nosing our way through blinding, swirling, white-out conditions.

I believe those are the kind of experiences that create memories (and smiles) and bind friends together on a deeper level.

So… thanks for the adventure, for your courageous determination (is Michael Andretti your cousin?) and oh, by the way… I know what to get you for your birthday… see below 🙂

red driving gloves

Soft breezes, friend of my heart!

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Now… may I just say… today is even colder than the day of our little adventure. The perf5.000x8.000.inddschools are closed due to cold. And this leads me to my question of the day…

How do you feel sexy in minus 39 degree (Fahrenheit) weather?

Well, if you want to know how Jillian and Gavin manage “sexy” in a Minnesota winter, read my latest release, NAKED HOPE, now available in print and ebook through the publisher, The Wild Rose Press or at a slightly discounted rate on Amazon.com.

As always, thanks for dropping by, soft breezes and stay warm!

PS: I’ve conferred with Jillian and she agrees… red leather driving gloves are just about guaranteed to make a girl feel sexy… no matter the season 🙂

Love,

Rebecca E. Grant
Love is Unstoppable

CRADLE OF LIES – Romantic Suspense – Red Sage Publishing
LIBERTY STARR – Sensual Contemporary award winner-Romance Writers Ink–Carina Press
Latest release: NAKED HOPE – Contemporary Romance available in print and e-book
The Wild Rose Press (print only)
Amazon (ebook and print)

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WEBSITE * LOVE IS UNSTOPPABLE BLOG * FACEBOOK * TWITTER * LINKEDIN

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Love is Unstoppable

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Well, let’s see… it’s been awhile since I gave a weather report.

I live in Minnesota; one of the coldest regions of upper Midwest USA. And for whatever reason, in the last two years, we have apparently been vying for “largest snowfall of the year” award… and winning… (in addition to the cold)!

Which is to say that I’m sitting in my sunroom (and I ask you… is it a sunroom if there’s no sun?) looking out into a grey sky, watching giant snowflakes zoom in schizophrenic zig-zags, caught in a blustery airstream so chaotic, I have to tell myself to breathe deeply to keep the frenetic energy outside—and not let it seep into my being.

More snow…

Yesterday, I couldn’t get my car into the drive until the plow guys came.

Two days ago, the postal carrier slid into the mailboxes because of the ice and snow. Knocked them over and there they were, leaning at a crazy angle and when I went to remove my mail, it all dumped out into the snow…

Three days ago, my widowed, elderly neighbor died. I live in a twin home. We share a common wall, but I never heard a thing. Her family came and went and because it’s so cold, I haven’t been venturing out, so I never saw them. I never heard them until yesterday, when in yet another snow, I saw their tire treads and wondered why they would leave the warmth of Arizona and visit in THIS weather. Never dreaming…

It made me wonder about how we live such separate lives—all of us—at least those of us who are fortunate enough to live in advanced countries where we have our own space—our own real estate—our own walls. Where even our shared walls keep out the cries and moans of the dying and the grieving.

So, what am I saying here?

1-5-14 Long Beach 077 (2)About a week ago, I returned from a short vacation in sunny Long Beach, California where the weather turned my spirit into something nearly as wild and free as the characters in my books 🙂

But, upon my return, I found I needed to gather all my energy and light around me and go deep into myself for some introspection. About the next book. About surviving winter. About life. The introspection helps create a shift in perspective and kick-start purpose.

And so I sat in the silence, pierced by nothing but more silence, aware of my knee jerk reaction to respond to the phone, texts, email and online chats beckoned, coercing me at regular intervals to “come out and play”.

But I stayed my course. Remained in the white space of solitude. Asking for courage to continue through winter. Asking for courage to write the next book. Asking for courage to greet every day with curiosity and wonder.

The quiet washed over me like ocean waves that come and go with a rhythm known only to the waves.

The Universe is amazing. In my state of asking to experience wisdom, courage, curiosity and wonder, it came to me what a gift it is to experience that kind of quiet—to enter into a state of asking and to recognize that whatever answers reveal themselves, do so because of grace.

Not my grace.

The grace of the Universe. A manifestation of favor, charity, mercifulness (as defined by Webster). And I would add… love. I think we do our best learning in a state of love.

perf5.000x8.000.inddWhich leads me to my tagline—the reason I write—and the basis for every story… the unstoppable nature of Love.

Love is unstoppable.

And so to all of you—no matter what your weather is like—no matter what state your life is in—I wish for you unstoppable love.

And I would add, warm, seductive, soft breezes.

Thanks for dropping by. My latest book, Naked Hope is doing well. I hope you’ll give it a read!

Rebecca E. Grant
Love is Unstoppable
www.rebeccaegrant.com

Introducing Dr. Jillian Cole

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Dr. Jillian Cole is a highly respected research psychologist in the field of traumatic brain injury. Her scientific breakthroughs and methods are singularly unmatched… but may be too much for Gavin Fairfield, whose ten year-old daughter suffered a tragic accident.

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Jill’s fingers moved decisively through the test packets and other instruments she needed, more than a little aware Gavin Fairfield watched her every move. She pulled her laptop from its docking station, and turned to retrieve her briefcase from the floor, only to find that he’d gotten there first. The casual grace of his lean body as he straightened, and the strength of his outstretched arm from years of conducting orchestras, were all-too familiar. Yet, this more charming mature version of the man she knew to be an egotistical tyrant unnerved her.

Her hand closed over his as she accepted her briefcase. “Mr. Fairfield, I always like to set an agenda so the client is informed.”

“I’m a client now?” he grinned.

Her mouth tightened. “Unless you suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury, you’ll never be the client. As the parent of a potential client who is a minor, we will be establishing three things over the next four days. The first is whether Olivia can navigate the academic rigor of the program?”

“Of course, she can,” he interrupted.

Ignoring him, she continued, “The second is to establish her emotional state. Last, we need to determine whether she has enough emotional support and guidance from her family. Specifically, this will mean looking into you, Mr. Fairfield.”

The maestro gaped.

For the first time since she crossed the threshold of Ross’ office that morning, a smile tugged at the corner of her mouth.

Read an excerpt
Buy the book in print
Buy the book in e-book

Visit my website

As always, thanks for dropping by!

Rebecca E. Grant
Love is Unstoppable

 

NAKED HOPE Limited Print Release

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ANNOUNCING…

Exclusive limited print release of my latest contemporary romance, NAKED HOPE through The Wild Rose Press, available now!

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Go to print version
Go to e-book
Read excerpt
Read early reader reviews

Back Cover:

    Research psychologist Jillian Cole’s tendency to fall for emotionally unavailable men has taught her to question every man’s motives. Specializing in the field of traumatic brain injury, Jill is faced with a case involving the child of a former college professor who crushed her music career years ago.

Music celebrity Gavin Fairfield is wracked by survivor’s guilt following the accident that caused his daughter’s brain injury. He refuses to believe medical evidence and clings to hope that she’ll regain her amazing talent.

Their clash over treatment methods brings them together and there is no denying their magnetic attraction. When Gavin’s hope relating to his daughter’s recovery results in disappointing consequences, can Gavin and Jillian’s love for each other help them find their way?

Rating: Sensual
Page Count: 384

www.RebeccaEGrant.com
Love is Unstoppable

Five Star Review for NAKED HOPE

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Released three days ago, I’m honored to share the first reader review of my latest contemporary romance, NAKED HOPE!

“I’ve been looking forward to reading Rebecca E. Grant’s next book, Naked Hope ever since I read her first two books, LIBERTY STARR and CRADLE OF LIES and all I can say is, this writer just gets better and better. She really knows how to interweave an intricate story line, complex characters, humor, and really hot sex—always with an elegant turn of phrase and tasteful treatment.

I loved LIBERTY STARR, and then when her second book CRADLE OF LIES came out, I thought she’d never be able to top that story.

But then along comes a story like NAKED HOPE and suddenly, instead of cowboys, I’m dreaming of musicians… and I’ve NEVER been inclined to dream of musicians before (nothing against you musicians but you do have a reputation for being temperamental and Gavin is no exception. LOL)

While this story centers around the lives of Gavin (musician) and his daughter who suffers from a brain injury, and there are some family elements in the story, they’re very limited as the focus is on the sparking, heat-seeking, sensual attraction these two opposites who seem to have almost nothing in common, have for each other.

Then, slowly, in true Rebecca E. Grant style, as the author brings Jillian and Gavin together, we begin to see just how much they really do have in common. And just how much they belong together, if only… (and I won’t give the story away by explaining beyond “if only”).

I will say I’ve never read a book like this, and I’ll bet you haven’t either.

Gavin is gallant, a bit egotistical and demanding, yet tender. Jill is an award winning psychologist who can hold her own, even with a powerful man like Gavin. They are the type of characters you can’t help but fall in love with.

Scorching sex, and a palpable sense of what hope means to someone who has nothing else to hold on to, define this book as a true hallmark of quality women’s fiction.

A few chapters into the book and I was already looking forward to the movie—this has to be made into a movie!

I’d give this book ten stars on a five star scale.”

Read the review on Amazon

Purchase NAKED HOPE

My heartfelt thanks to the writer of this review, and to all of you reading NAKED HOPE, it is my (if you’ll pardon the pun) ‘naked hope’ that you’ll love it every bit as much as I do, and as this reviewer does.

Wishing you an exquisite new year,
Rebecca E. Grant http://www.RebeccaEGrant.com
Love is Unstoppable

NAKED HOPE releases today!

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The day after Christmas, I drove through the barren back roads of icy Iowa, making my way back home with my best friend of more than 25 years. (Actually, I was riding—my friend was driving while I pointed out various scenes of interest. More about that in a moment.)

If you’ve never been to Iowa, something you’ll want to know is that the scent of hog farms permeates the air, even on the coldest of days if you’re down wind in an unfortunate spot—which happens frequently in this state, known for its inhospitable winters and corny, down-home, Midwestern culture. The wind blows without restraint across the flatlands that roll out unbroken for 55,875 square miles, creating an icy build-up on the roads.

Iowa in winter is not for the faint of heart.

And yet, this state, which is home to my best friend’s family—a family so warm they would give you the shirt off their back if you needed it—also gifted me with one of the loveliest Christmas experiences.

This Christmas, deep in the arctic belly of Iowa, I reveled in the warmth of a pinion-scented wood fire, and people who are like family with their strong abiding faith in human kindness, fiercely protective spirit—especially toward children, and their unadulterated joy for life.

But I will add that as beautiful as Iowa is…

…with its snow-covered fields…

12-26-13 Iowa drive 055

…which lay sleeping; resting up for next year’s harvest…

12-26-13 Iowa drive 047

Most of what we saw were corn stacks…

12-26-13 Iowa drive 020

…and more corn stacks…

12-26-13 Iowa drive 014

…and still… more corn stacks

12-26-13 Iowa drive 010

Which leads me to simply this. If you’re planning to be a rider looking at repetitive scenery any time soon, or just want an entertaining read, may I recommend my latest release, NAKED HOPE, which releases today, exclusively through Amazon’s Kindle program. The book will be available in print through The Wild Rose Press April 16, 2014, but for now, it’s available in the Kindle e-book format. If you prefer to read books on your iPad or iPhone, just download the kindle app.

Wishing you the softest of holiday breezes (preferably not downhill from a hog farm) and the joy of unstoppable love.

Rebecca E. Grant www.RebeccaEGrant.com

Love is Unstoppable

perf5.000x8.000.inddNAKED HOPE, a contemporary romance by Rebecca E. Grant

Jill’s fingers moved decisively through the test packets and other instruments she needed, More than a little aware Gavin Fairfield watched her every move. She pulled her laptop from its docking station, and turned to retrieve her briefcase from the floor, only to find that he’d gotten there first. The casual grace of his lean body as he straightened, and the strength of his outstretched arm from years of conducting orchestras, were all-too familiar. Yet, this more charming mature version of the man she knew to be an egotistical tyrant unnerved her.

Jill’s fingers closed over his as she accepted her briefcase. “Mr. Fairfield, I always like to set an agenda so the client is informed.”

“I’m a client now?” he grinned.

Her mouth tightened. “Unless you suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury, you’ll never be the client. As the parent of a potential client who is a minor, we will be establishing three things over the next four days. The first is whether Olivia can navigate the academic rigor of the program–”

“Of course, she can,” he interrupted.

Ignoring him, she continued, “The second is to establish her emotional state. Last, we need to determine whether she has enough emotional support and guidance from her family. Specifically, this will mean looking into you, Mr. Fairfield.”

The maestro gaped.

For the first time since she crossed the threshold of Ross’ office that morning, a smile tugged at the corner of her mouth.

Read an excerpt at www.RebeccaEGrant.com

NAKED HOPE cover revealed!

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Hello Everyone!

This is such a happy moment for me!

I’m so excited to reveal the cover for my latest contemporary romance, Naked Hope, releasing through The Wild Rose Press mid-summer, 2013!

I want to send a special shout out to Rae Monet, the cover artist. She’s amazing!

Naked Hope is the first romance I ever wrote… the first draft was written more than twenty years ago… and while I’m not one to be self-denigrating… let’s just say that it was perhaps one of the ugliest drafts ever produced 😉

But, at last the story is what it was meant to be and I’m so pleased to be sharing it with you.

Naked Hope makes its debut in early 2013.

Below is a brief excerpt. You can read more on my website. Stay tuned for more updates, and if you’re in the northern hemisphere, stay warm! If you’re in the southern hemisphere… we envy you your beautiful summer!

XOXO Rebecca E. Grant

Love is Unstoppable

www.rebeccaegrant.com

Naked Hope—Chapter One

The oppressive late summer heat clung to Jillian Cole like shrink wrap and followed her as she pushed through the heavy-framed door of the Wilson Institute. Air conditioning must be out again. She peeled off her light shrug and headed down the shiny tiled hallway.

Just outside Dean Chapman’s office, Nona, the dean’s administrative assistant, blocked her path holding a tall glass of ice water. “Take this in with you.”

Jill glanced at her watch. “He’s thirsty already? We haven’t even gotten started yet.”

Nona shook her head, a smirk flirting on her lips. “That’s for you.”

“For me?” Jill’s serious demeanor warmed. “Thanks, Nona. I noticed the air’s out again.” Gratefully, she lifted the glass to drink.

Nona’s grin broadened. She inclined her head toward the dean’s office. “Better save it for in there.”

Jill offered a confident snort.  “No worries. After seven years, this meeting is practically routine. I act indignant and offended, Ross acts like he’s in charge, but in the end, we always manage a reasonable compromise.”

Jill swung open Ross Chapman’s door.

Two men’s heads turned. One man stood and took several steps in her direction.

She faltered. Her ice water sloshed. Before any spilled, she steadied her glass and took a less-than-delicate swallow. Sweat broke out and beaded across the back of her neck just under her hairline. Gavin Fairfield! Here?

Fairfield’s energy saturated the room like some kind of exotic elixir. The years had been good to him despite the highly publicized tragedy. Tall and tanned with well-muscled arms, Gavin looked as rugged and as aristocratic as she remembered, with two exceptions. The hair at his temples displayed a hint of premature gray that he wore well. More noticeable, though, were his eyes, heavy-lidded and watchful, indicating a great deal of experience keeping the world at arm’s length. Tragedy certainly had a way of tearing at the spirit.

“Ah, Dr. Cole, there you are! Come in, come in.” Ross greeted, pointing to the leather sofa on which their guest sat. “Maestro, I’d like you to meet Dr. Jillian Cole. Jill is in charge of our curricula for kids with traumatic brain injury.” Ross’ smile widened. “We’re very proud of our Dr. Cole. She’s this year’s American Psychological Association’s award recipient for Traumatic Brain Injury Research in Children. Jill, meet the maestro Gavin Fairfield. He is an eminent pianist, composer and conductor here with the Minneapolis Orchestra, and a member of the faculty at the University of Minnesota.”

Would he remember her? Jill extended her hand. The sweat collecting on the back of her neck gave way and trickled down her spine. Her lips stuck as they split over her teeth in what she hoped was a gracious, professional smile.

He grasped her hand, held it a beat longer than necessary, and allowed his gaze to probe hers.

Commanding and cast against his face with the symmetry of a poem, his eyes were a fusion of blue and gray. But where was the heat—the fire she remembered so well? She revised her earlier assessment. Haunted, not distant. However he might try to hide it, Gavin Fairfield harbored a deep sadness.

Jill approached the sofa, eying the nonabsorbent leather surface. If she didn’t stop sweating, she’d leave a telltale puddle.

More at www.rebeccaegrant.com