By: Jettie Woodruff


I have no clue where to even begin. This has been a crazy year. I’ve met some amazing new author friends, and I’ve gained a crazy fan base. I wouldn’t be where I am today without both of them. THANK YOU!

To all the blogs who do what they do. Hats off to you, my friends. My dirty girl group. Thank you for following me the way you do, thank you for being there when my son had his accident, and thank you for all the kind words and donations. I love you guys!!!

Team J. You guys ROCK! All of you!

Nikki Reeves, girl—

I don’t know what I would do without you. Lesley Edwards, Catharine Gray, Connie Thompson, Erin McFarland, Karen Benton, Tiffany Daniels, Brandi Reeves, Katie Theobald, and Amy Davis. My awesome review team. You guys are my rock. Thanks for being there for every single book, through all the changes, the start overs, and the altering stories and plots. I <3 you.

Tabatha Thompson for singing me Journey.

Jenna Dixon, you are my shining star! Thanks for all your help, for answering my annoying messages, and for all the love and support. I don’t know what I would do without you. I <3 you!

Sheila Howell, Thank you for all you do for me. M. Robinson, well…Who would have thought? Heather Moss. Thanks for a rocking, blog tour and all the help.



The room filled with darkness as the heavy clouds lingered over the neighborhood.

“Is it going to storm now?” Rowan asked as she joined me at the window. I smiled down at her and ran my hand through her long hair. My palm rested on her back, covering it entirely as we stared up at the sky, the earlier bright blue gone, replaced with a cold, charcoal gray.

“Pretty soon. Are you all set in case we lose our power?” The wild energy of the storm loomed before us, sending a rush of rain-scented air and a prickle of apprehension up my spine.

“I don’t like it when it storms.”

“I like it,” Ophelia interjected, her little body squeezing between her sister and me. She wanted to see the storm, too.

“Are you kidding me? It’s fun,” I lied. I hated them, too. Had ever since I was a little girl. Rowan was the same way.

Ophelia cupped one hand over her brow as if the sun was bright. Up to a sun hidden somewhere behind dark clouds.

I sucked my lips between my teeth to keep from laughing. “I don’t see it. Where’s the storm?”

“Can I sleep in your bed?” Rowan asked, worry in her crystal-blue eyes. Rowan looked up for the answer and I grinned at her, brushing a lock of her blond hair aside.

“I was talking first, Rowan,” Ophelia said with angry words and a shove.

“Hey, stop that. We’ll see, Rowan. Let’s run to the store and pick up a few things. Just in case. Maybe we can stop at the park for a little bit. I’m going to go tell daddy we’re leaving. You clean up your crayons. There’s one under the sofa, too,” I said with a nod toward the coffee table. I turned my attention toward her sister, ordering her help with the mess. “Ophelia, help pick up the crayons.”

Ophelia did a flip over the sofa, assuring me upside down that she had nothing to do with it. “I didn’t do it. Rowan dumped them all out.”

Rowan dramatically complained. Full-on attitude, cocked hip and all. “I did not. You did it when you were looking for the green one. You’re lying. She is, Mom.”

I walked away from the front room with a stern look, a straight finger pointed from one to the other. I reminded them with a gesture toward the door that their father was home. That quieted the argument. Paxton had worked at home that day, giving his crew the afternoon off in order to get ready for the approaching weather.

The tinted glass at the end of the hall did little to hide the impending conditions. It didn’t look like the tropical storm was going to miss us. The last time I had looked, the swirling red circle on TV aimed a dead hit at us. I prayed that it was wrong. The weatherman always got it wrong. Maybe it would turn at the last minute.

With a deep breath of courage, I knocked on Paxton’s office door. I hadn’t seen him since breakfast. Unsure of his mood, I hesitated and then tapped lightly.

“Yes?” Okay, that didn’t sound too bad. At least it wasn’t a hateful “What?” His tone sounded distracted, like he was busy. I pushed the door open and entered the office. Work didn’t occupy him. Instead, the update on the weather had his attention. Paxton’s eyebrows turned inward, one finger in the air, indicating I wait while he listened to the drama behind the chaos. As soon as he dropped his finger and looked at me with a nod, I spoke.

“I’m going to run to the store for a few things before it makes landfall.”

“Didn’t you just go to the store a couple of days ago?”

“Yes, but if we lose power, the store will be out of milk in a day. I forgot milk—and I better pick up a case of water, too. Is the generator ready to go?”

“The generator is not your department. Milk, however, is. You’re so irresponsible,” Paxton said with a heavy sigh and a frown. “Tell me… How does a mother forget milk? You only have two things to take care of. Two little girls and a home.” He stood and walked to the front of his desk where he rested his butt, a condescending glare on me