My mind is on the Minnesota State Fair today. Maybe it’s because I’m sick of winter and longing for summertime, almost autumn. My mind is flooded with memories:  homemade apple pie made with just-off-the-tree apples, listening to Karen and Richard Carpenter croon “Top of the World” under the stars in the grandstand, steel drums throbbing, fireworks exploding, staying in the 4-H building one hot, humid summer night all by myself, purple ribbons, ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds…

Maybe it’s because I’m working on my next release (coming in April), Merry-Go-Round. Merry-Go-Round will be the third book in my Maple Valley Trilogy, and has pivotal scenes set on merry-go-rounds at the fair in St. Paul, MN, and on an antique carousel in Story City, Iowa. Here’s a little glimpse of what I’m working on…

Tracy, the youngest of the three Jones sisters, it the one about whom their mother always said, “Why can’t you be more like Tracy?” and “Tracy never gives me this kind of trouble.” Tracy, who married her high school sweetheart, now a minister, and had three beautiful children, does appear to have the perfect life.

But as Merry-Go-Round opens, we find that nothing in Tracy’s life is as it seems, and hasn’t been for years. When her husband leaves her for another man, and everything in her world suddenly goes topsy turvy, she has to move out of the parsonage and make a new life for herself. Her only option is to turn to  her sisters, Rachael and Michelle, for help. While kind-hearted Michelle is ready to forgive all and lend a hand, Rae thinks maybe it’s time Tracy gets hers…

Clay Alexander’s fairy tale life is also not what it appears.  When Tracy inspires him to follow his heart, regardless of what the consequences might be, Clay resigns from the board of directors at Alexander Industries and breaks off of his engagement to Lauren. When his father issues a not-so-subtle edict –  conform to the family’s expectations or see Elk Creek Woolen Mills closed forever –  Clay’s only hope of saving the mill, and with it hundreds of jobs the tiny community depends on, is to force the sale of the facility and buy the mill himself. And the only way he can get the votes he needs from a board of directors his father controls is to sell his soul to the devil herself…

Before he met Tracy, Clay had resigned himself to a loveless marriage with Lauren. Tracy doubted she would ever trust a man again, say nothing about love. The unlikely romance they discover in the midst of the chaos is both the dream that gives them hope, and the catalyst that comes precariously close to being their downfall. For even as they taste the tender passion of their souls and share the secrets of their hearts, the forces of life are sweeping them apart – her children, his parents, her pride, his honor, the welfare of an entire community – until it seems their world is spinning out of control, and all either of them can do is hang on for dear life.

Heaven only knows if their love was meant to be, or if they will always be on opposite sides of the merry-go-round, each riding round and round on a horse that will never catch up with the other…

Photo by Rose Hill.

Coming soon from Second Wind Publishing!

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