We’re excited to share two brand new releases with you today: Why They Call It Falling by Christina Sinisi and Conventions of Love by Delaina Netherland.
WHY THEY CALL IT FALLING
by Christina Sinisi
Formerly the wild child of three sisters, Emma Marano grew up to be a single mom working two jobs, estranged from her mother, and lying to her friends. She’d told everyone that her daughter’s father wanted nothing to do with his child, but in reality, her own inability to deal with her mistakes and shame led to the biggest lie of her life. But her daughter, Haley, is all Emma has in the world, so how can she regret keeping Haley to herself? Emma’s struggling, though, and her life is slowly imploding.
Right after high school, Justin Lee broke up with Emma Marano and joined the Army, leaving her and all her drama behind.. Years later, he stumbles upon her and what turns out to be a daughter he never knew he had. Angry and confused, he insists on having a relationship with his daughter, but to do so, he’ll need to rebuild some sort of relationship with Emma, too. As he gets to know his daughter—and Emma again—he soon realizes that his biggest mistake was leaving her all those years ago. What he dismissed as drama turns out to be a serious mental health issue, and Emma needs help. Now, Justin has to decide if he can see past her flaws and forgive her lies, and together, they’ll have to work to reclaim their love and a faith in each other and in God, or they risk losing something precious in the process.
“Haley,” Emma griped. “If you don’t put your little patootie in gear, we’re going to get there too late, and the place will be closed.”
“I’m coming!” Haley shouted. “I just need a hat so I won’t get sunburned.”
Her daughter raced into the living room with a ski hat in the shape of a bunny rabbit, complete with floppy ears and cotton yarn tail in the back. The thing didn’t offer protection from the sun and would have sweat dripping down her little face before they even got out of the car.
“Um.” Emma had to laugh. “Darling, that’s a winter hat. We don’t even need those in Charleston at all. No way are you wearing that to pick strawberries.”
Haley crossed her arms over her chest and stuck out her bottom lip. “Yes, I am, and you can’t stop me.”
Red spots swam in front of Emma’s eyes for a few seconds; her daughter got on her nerves that bad. She’d given birth to herself in miniature and that might be fair, but raising herself wasn’t fun. “You know what, go ahead and wear it. When it gets too hot, you’ll need to carry it around with you, and maybe you won’t be able to pick strawberries because your basket will be full of hat.” She grabbed her purse and started for the door. “Up to you.”
Haley huffed. “Meanie.”
When Emma turned to hold the door open, Haley was hatless. She’d take the motherhood “win” for the day. “I have a sun hat for you in the bag. You know the one we got at Simply Southern?”
Haley recovered her bounce. “Yay! I love that hat. I just want to kiss the frogs on there. They’re so cute.”
Emma grinned. “I just want to kiss you all over your smoochy face.”
Haley jumped into her car seat as soon as the back door opened. Emma leaned over and planted a raspberry on her daughter’s cheek, loud and prolonged.
Haley squealed and squirmed. “Yuck, Mama. Stop.”
Emma laughed and pulled back. “Now, that’s some kissing.”
Haley rubbed her cheek. “You’re a silly mommy.”
“Yep, and don’t you forget it.” Emma clicked her daughter’s buckle and closed the door. She swung her tote bag into the back of the SUV before sliding into the driver’s seat. She stared at the rearview mirror, drinking in her daughter’s toothy smile. She’d done that, all by herself.
Yeah, Justin had been there at the making of their daughter, but he hadn’t been around long after and didn’t even know she existed. That was on her, too, but she was good with that.
“Are we ever going to move?” Haley grumped. “I thought we were going to miss it if I didn’t get a move on.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Emma said. “You’re right, you’re right. I just couldn’t stop staring at this beautiful little girl in the rearview.”
Haley twisted in her car seat and looked behind her. “Who? Where?”
Emma smiled and put the car in reverse. “You, silly. You’re my beautiful little girl.”
Haley plopped her bottom back down. “Humph. You say that now, but what if you have another baby? My friend Ashley at Christ’s Kids said she’s going to be a big sister, and she’s going to have to share her toys. I said that doesn’t sound like a good time to me.”
Emma laughed so hard she snorted.
CONVENTIONS OF LOVE
by Delaina Netherland
When Brennon McCarthy, owner of McCarthy Marketing agrees to attend a highly acclaimed women’s business conference with his all-female staff, he’s not expecting to bring home any takeaways of his own. But when he finds himself completely smitten with a member of the backstage staff, Neecy Adams, he begins to learn far more about business and life. There’s a fine line between the two, and he no longer knows which side he stands on.
After years of aligning her professional and personal worlds into a system that works for her and everyone she loves, the last thing Neecy is prepared for is love. Contemplating the dream of romance is one thing, but acting on that dream is another. Yet, she can’t seem to shake her fascination with the smart and handsome, Brennon McCarthy. But when an unexpected tragedy strikes, Neecy begins to doubt her choices. Will her faith and a chance at having it all—love, family, and success—bring Neecy out of her grief and into Brennon’s arms? Or will she decide she’s just not strong enough to take on the many challenges standing between her and true love?
“Hello,” someone said in a slightly gravelly voice as I finished up my quick conversation with Cora. The conference was about to start—and we weren’t accustomed to male voices on the other side of the registration table as the majority of Yvette’s target audience were women. We both turned and stared blankly at the man.
“Hello?” His left eyebrow arched, and I shook myself out of my surprise.
“Um, I apologize. Crazy morning. Can I help you?” I tried to sound welcoming, but this tall, broad-shouldered man with his perfectly trimmed salt and pepper goatee, black suit, and thin black tie caught me off guard.
His sunglasses were tucked atop his slicked-back, darker hair, which was trimmed tight on the sides. A thousand thoughts rumbled through my head, but none of them landed on him being part of our audience today.
He presented an online ticket print-out, and I took it cautiously. So far, the only men we’d seen were men involved in the backstage operations of the conference. Our team of thirty itself only had eight men. So, seeing a rather handsome man with a women’s conference ticket surprised me a bit.
“Welcome,” I managed and glanced down at the ticket. “Row forty-two, seat sixteen.” I stopped, and the image of sweet Ms. McCarthy came to mind. I quickly found the note I’d made earlier and compared it to the ticket. Brennon McCarthy. I didn’t remember her saying that name when she was counting earlier. “Um, are you part of Falon McCarthy’s group?”
He chuckled. “My mother. Has she already met everyone? Yes. I’m part of her group.”
“We are indeed already in love with her. Yes. But she only mentioned ten ladies.” I worried because I knew the last five available wiggle-room seats were taken.
“Did she give you their names?”
“Well, she mentioned them when we were counting how many seats she would need, but I don’t recall all the names exactly.”
“Seats? Why? Did she not have her ticket?” His face furrowed into genuine worry, which was cute. I assumed he and his mother must be very close.
“No, she had her ticket, but I wanted to move her closer to the front, so we moved the group of ten. I hope that’s okay.”
“That’s perfectly fine. Thank you. But I only purchased ten tickets… including mine.”
My mind reeled to remember the names she’d given. “Brennon” didn’t ring any bells. I turned to Cora, who was just as spellbound with the man as I’d been. “Cora, can you go to Ms. McCarthy and see if Brennon was one of the people she counted?”
Cora never took her full attention off our guest. “Yes,” she responded, but I had to clear my throat for her to snap out of her trance. “Yes,” she said again and turned to run down to the front of the conference room, leaving Brennon McCarthy and I to stand in awkward silence.