~ About the Book ~
Cameron Wallace thrives as both the blacksmith and the minister in his community of Pine Creek. Out of the fires of a chaotic childhood, he’s forged a peaceful life filled with safe relationships and predictable routines. But when the smithy he’s been renting is sold out from under him, the impulsive woman who buys it stokes the embers of emotions he’d rather keep unlit—and even has the audacity to lend a helping hand to his smithy work.
Samantha Klein has never been afraid to push boundaries when it comes to helping those whom society—and God—have overlooked, be they orphans, immigrants, or injured animals. When her latest attempt to aid a group of Chinese women lands her in a newspaper scandal, her high-society family sends her packing from Seattle. Setting out on her own, she purchases the Pine Creek smithy and hatches another plan for helping her immigrant friends. But only weeks after arriving in Pine Creek, her plan turns to ashes, and she’s overwhelmed by needs she can never hope to meet, including her own need to be seen and cared for. And the one who seems to understand her is the man who won’t let her anywhere near his heart, no matter the attraction that burns between them.
As Cameron struggles to find a new normal, and Samantha yearns for someone to share her burdens, old hurts and dangerous secrets make them both terrified to admit that what they need—and what God has planned for them—just might be each other.
Series: #3 Love That Counts
Genre: Historical Romance
Release date: 1 March 2018
~ Excerpt ~
The woman tugged her arm free and drew upon every fraction of what Cam guessed to be five feet six inches of height. Average for a woman, but he had a foreboding that her height was the only average thing about her. She opened her mouth to speak, but he put up his hand. He didn’t want to hear excuses from a woman with a pileated woodpecker feather pointing due north from her hat.
“Ma’am.” He tried to herd her toward the door, but she resisted. Hoisting her over his shoulder didn’t seem prudent, and unlike this stranger, he could resist temptations. “I ask my customers to wait in one of the two chairs at the entrance.”
“I own this place.”
“If you wouldn’t mind . . . ” He reached to hang the mallet, but her words registered. The mallet missed the hook and dropped onto the corner of his thick leather boot. He sucked in a breath.
“Are you all right?” She stared at his foot. “Is that my fault?”
“Should I fetch a doctor?”
She jerked her head up. Were those tears shining in her eyes?
“They’re lined with extra leather. I’ll be fine.”
Her hand rested across her heart. “I’m so relieved.”
He was so confused.
She straightened her shoulders, but they remained as narrow as the trickle that fed the creek up by his favorite fishing spot. “I’m Samantha Klein.”
S. Klein. The investor who’d bought the smithy three years ago, the one he’d faithfully written, the one who’d only responded once with terse prose and a seeming disinterest in the business. But investors had beards, suit coats, and long, turned-in brows. Not honey brown hair and slender necks that didn’t look strong enough to support ridiculous hats.
Miss Klein tilted her head to the side, unless perhaps the weight of the feathered creation had pulled it over. “There’s been correspondence between . . . You are Mr. Cameron Wallace?”
Time to unearth his heart from where it’d bottomed out in his chest. The owner had come, and it was a woman. “Yes.”
“What a pleasure to meet you.” An enormous grin captured her face, and she clasped her hands together beneath her chin. With a spin that sent her skirt fanning, she took in the surroundings. “I’m giddy just seeing this place.”
He’d never been giddy about anything, let alone a forge. “It’s hot, dusty, and dangerous.” Not a place for a woman to work out a bee in her bonnet, or in this case, a bee in a lopsided, fancy hat that screamed privileged and went along with the deep rose-colored ensemble that draped her fragile-looking frame.
She strutted to the desk and peered at his papers. Gentle fingers that looked like they’d not touched dirt for years—or ever—picked up his project list and brushed it off. “Dusty and dangerous go with the business, but we’ll manage.”
His morning’s sense of contentment teetered on a precipice.
“I know I’ve just arrived, but I’d like to settle in. Sound business is about . . .”
And there it fell—the contentment. Plunged off the cliff and was so far gone he lost sight of it. Forget the desire to own the smithy. He’d be happy to return to yesterday when his domain had been quiet, save for his own hammering.
~ Review ~
Mercy me, I think Cameron Wallace may just be one of my new favourite heroes! The poor guy. He has no idea how a ‘nonconformist socialite with a tender spot for injured ducks and compassionate girls with tattered dresses’ is about to upend his world! But to be fair, that isn’t Samantha Klein’s intention when she arrives in Pine Creek. It’s just that she tackles everything with an earnest optimism (and some giddiness thrown in for good measure) that bewilders Cam’s staid, emotionally reserved personality. They might not have the same kind of banter the previous two couples in this series share, but the contrast between their personalities provides its own form of humour!
I seriously loved these characters. Sam’s enthusiasm and compassion is infectious—not to mention completely sincere—which makes her naïvety endearing rather than annoying. (Although I can also sympathise with poor Cameron’s exasperation at times!) And Cameron… *sigh* I’ve had a soft spot for Cameron since the first book in this series, but now that Sam’s shaking up his world, we’re getting to see beneath the surface, and that man has himself tied up in all kinds of knots! It doesn’t help that some of the families in town are beginning to object to his preaching which, together with Sam’s arrival, is causing Cam to question pretty much everything about his life in Pine Creek. God’s got a bit of work to do to get those knots untangled! And Sam only makes Cam want to pull those knots tighter. But when she begins to crack through his reserve… Hoo boy! Swoon time! And the swoons just keep getting swoonier!
If you like historical romance that combines light-heartedness with great character growth, small-town community, and a whole lot of heart, then you should definitely pick up this series!
I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ Previous Books in the Series ~
~ About the Author ~
A native of Washington State, Sondra Kraak grew up playing in the rain, hammering out Chopin at the piano, and running up and down the basketball court. Now settled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children, blogging about spiritual truths, and writing historical romance set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She delights in sharing stories that not only entertain, but nourish the soul. Her debut novel, One Plus One Equals Trouble, was an ACFW Genesis semi-finalist (2015) and the winner of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Unpublished Women’s Fiction Award (2015). Sondra has since published three novels.