Two Hearts in Winter
Ocean City Boardwalk Series, Book 2
Loss and betrayal have caused Heather Phillips to give up on love. She’s thrown herself into running The Lonely Loon, her Bed and Breakfast located on the boardwalk of Ocean City, Maryland. The “off season” in this tourist town is usually a time of rest and reflection for her; however, DB Atwell, a famous author, arrives at The Loon for the winter to finish his long-overdue novel. Daniel, too, has faced grief, and tragedy continues to haunt him. Once Heather and Daniel meet, their lives will never be the same.
Reminiscent of Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks and culminating in a happily-ever-after similar to the great Nora Roberts, Two Hearts in Winter is a story about learning to let go of the past, about realizing that, though hardship affects us, it need not define us, and about coming to understand and truly believe that beauty is sometimes covered in scars. The human heart has an amazing ability to forgive, to heal, and to hope, especially when touched by love.
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-939000-32-3
eBook ISBN: 978-1-939000-33-0
USA Today Bestselling Author Donna Fasano has written 35 romance and women’s fiction titles. Her books have won awards, have been translated into two dozen languages, and have sold 4 million copies worldwide.
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Reviews of Book 1 of the series:
“The pleasure of Fasano’s style lies in the scrumptious descriptions… and her characters’ sincere, mature desire to make things work.” ~Publishers Weekly
“Following His Heart made me go “wow”. . . I found it thought-provoking in ways I’d have never anticipated.” ~BooksAndPals.com, 5-Stars
It wasn’t Heather’s aim to embarrass the girl; she just wanted to cut through the lies to get to the truth as quickly as possible.
“Listen, hon.” Heather leaned forward. “Why don’t you tell me what this is all about?”
She smiled, but she had to admit, after speaking with the woman at Atlantic Coastal this morning, she’d felt completely stumped. Why in the world would this girl approach her like she had? Why would she lie?
“I’m tired of proofing,” Sandra finally said. “And I don’t want to be an editor. I want to be a writer. And paying writing gigs are few and far between in this business. Newspapers are shutting down. Everyone is going digital. It’s… it’s hard.”
Heather gently pried the plastic lid off her tea. She lifted the rim to her mouth and took a sip. The heady tastes hit her tongue: cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, and the richly scented steam wafted around her face.
The answer Sandra gave was completely plausible. It seemed like a perfectly natural thing for a journalist wannabe to do… write an interesting story about The Lonely Loon and present it to the magazine’s publisher as proof of her writing skills.
Heather nodded. “I see.” She set the cup down again, pleased by the calm demeanor that she’d been able to present. As she’d driven over to the west side of town, she’d fretted about the confrontation. But it had been simple, really. Just asking for the simple truth had been the best solution.
There were still a couple of questions niggling at her, though. “But why lie?” she asked. “Why didn’t you just tell me you were going after a writing job at your magazine?”
Sandra's chin tipped up, and she unwittingly slid her palm over the silver laptop that sat on the table, her gaze zeroing in on Heather’s face. “You would have helped me get a story?”
“Of course, I would help you.” Heather smiled. “I like to see people succeed. If I can help you, I will.” You silly twit, whispered through her mind, but luckily she was able to keep the offensive moniker from slipping off her tongue. “Who wouldn’t like to help someone advance in their career?”
“Oh, wow,” Sandra gushed. “I don’t know what to say. I just… this is so nice of you.”
Heather’s smile widened. Now that the truth was sitting like an open book in front of them, they could get down to work. She could tell Sandra that her mother had been the one who had established The Lonely Loon, and she could explain where the name had come from. And how she’d taken over the business after her mother had died of breast cancer. She’d be sure to name a few of the neighboring boardwalk businesses and their owners to offer as much promotion to her friends as she could. The owners of the shops, restaurants, and hotels on the boardwalk were a tight-knit group.
Sandra reached into her satchel and pulled out an eight by ten piece of paper and slid it across the table.
“What’s this?” Heather asked.
As her eyes scanned the short, full-caps header—WRITER DB ATWELL’S DAUGHTER MISSING. Heather’s blood froze and she felt like she were sitting in a vacuum.
“This is the story I want.” The words burst from Sandra like blustery wind during a nor’easter. “I have a friend who works at the Associated Press. He sent this to me just before Christmas. It’s taken me weeks to track him down. DB Atwell, I mean. The teachers at his daughter’s school aren’t talking. His publisher isn’t talking. Even his agent blew me off.”
Heather watched Sandra’s mouth moving, she even heard the words, but the situation had taken such a bizarre turn, that she felt truly dumbfounded.
“I’ve tracked him to Ocean City, I believe,” Sandra continued. “And although I haven’t seen him, I’m pretty sure he’s hiding out at your B&B. He's the one you mentioned yesterday, isn't he? The guest who needs quiet. I want you to tell me about him. I need you to tell me everything you know. About him. And his missing daughter.”
What are you reading now or what do you have in your TBR pile?
I just finished Learning to Swim by Sara Henry. I’m currently reading Julia’s Daughters by Colleen Faulkner. On my TBR pile you’ll find A Reluctant Hero by Jackie Weger, Creatus by Carmen DeSousa, The Neighbor by Dean Koontz, Three Junes by Julia Glass, One Way or Another by Elaine Raco Chase, Love Me Tender by Mimi Barbour…should I go on?
What flavor is your writing style?
I always tell people I write cotton candy for the mind. Think back to when you were a kid and you took a bite of that delectable confection. What did you do? You smiled. That’s what I’m going for in my romance novels.
Was writing always the first thing you wanted to do in life?
No, I wanted to be a teacher, but then I met and fell in love with my husband. We married and began raising a family. It wasn't until my children started school that I started writing.
While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?
I believe there’s a lot of me in my protagonists. I write about women who are strong, yet vulnerable. My main characters and my secondary characters have flaws and make mistakes (don’t we all?), but then most of them do all they can to learn, grow and become better people.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
One piece of advice I often give to writers is to READ. Don’t just read in the genre in which you write. Read everything. And then figure out what you liked and what you didn't…and then think about why. Reading and analyzing the writing of talented people can help you perfect your own skills.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I bow down to readers! I am so appreciative that they spend their hard-earned money on my books and then take the time to read my stories. I am so blessed to have a job I love, and I wouldn't have this job if there weren't readers who love romance novels.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I came to writing through my love of reading. I spent many a Saturday as a kid in the local library. I loved books, but I never imagined I would ever write one. My husband gets the credit for my becoming a writer. When my children started school and I decided to find a part-time job, he looked around at the piles of romance novels in our home and said, “You've read a lot of those. Why don’t you try writing one?” So, you see. It’s all his fault.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not my latest book, but one of my titles—Where’s Stanley?—features an ending that I didn't come up with. I handed in the completed manuscript, and my editor suggested a different ending. I wasn't happy, but I did as she asked. Personally, I think the book suffered for it, but readers seem to enjoy the story.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Old Yeller, Sounder, The Bell Jar, To Kill a Mockingbird…how can people read these books and not be influenced? There are so many titles that inspired me and moved me, molded and shaped me, there isn't time to name them all. The characters in these wonderful books help young readers to decide what kind of individual they want to be.
Do you ever experience writer's block?
There was a time when I’d have said no. I have a plant-your-butt-in-the-chair-and-the-words-will-come attitude. But I did suffer writer’s block while my dad was battling cancer. It’s difficult to write feel-good happily-ever-after when your beloved father is dying.
Do you write an outline before every book you write?
I do, yes. I equate an outline with a road made; how do you know where you’re going if you don’t have a map? I might write the first chapter or two on the fly, but I always take the time to plan out where I want the story to go. Now that’s not to say that the characters are going to stay on the straight and narrow. They decide to veer off the highway every now and then, and that’s when I have to do a quick reroute.
Have you ever disliked something you wrote?
I've never published anything that I disliked. I have started projects that haven’t seen the light of day, either because I couldn't figure out where to take the story, or I couldn't make the protagonist sympathetic or likable. It’s a rare occurrence, and when it happens, I just set the story aside and hope I can someday come up with a solution.
Tell us why you’ve decided to set a series of book at a seashore location.
I love the ocean. There’s just something about a large body of water that induces a great calm in me. I think many people feel the same, so I decided to come up with a series that involves three women friends who live and work in Ocean City, Maryland. The first, Following His Heart, is Sara and Landon’s story. The second, Two Hearts in Winter, is Heather and Daniel’s story. I’m currently plotting out the third book of the series.