After almost three years of living under a fog of grief, Ellen Shepherd is ready for the next chapter in her life. Perhaps she’ll find adventure during a visit to Galway. Her idea of excitement consists of exploring Ireland for yarn to feature in her shop back home, but the adventure awaiting her includes an edgy stranger who disrupts her tea time, challenges her belief system, and stirs up feelings she thought she’d buried with her husband.
After years of ignoring God, nursing anger, and stifling his grief, Payne Anderson isn’t ready for the feelings a chance encounter with an enchanting stranger evokes. Though avoiding women and small talk has been his pattern, something about Ellen makes him want to seek her–and God again.
Can Ellen accept a new life different than the one she planned? Can Payne release his guilt and accept the peace he’s longed for? Can they surrender their past pain and embrace healing together or will fear and doubt ruin this second chance at happiness?
Payne and Ellen lingered over their food. He explained he was working in Africa and admitted he’d just arrived in Ireland when they met. “I’d been traveling for about two days with hardly any sleep, but it’s better to stay awake a while before crashing. I adjust to a new time zone faster…with less jet lag, too.”
“So those were safari clothes you wore yesterday, and you tried to stay awake by picking a fight with a stranger in a café.” She smiled at him as though she’d just given the correct answer in a board game.
He shook his head. “Huh uh. I stayed awake by talking with a beautiful woman.” He leaned his forearms against the table.
She blinked twice. Was he flirting with her? She wasn’t sure. A warm tingle rose from the bottom of her stomach, grabbing the breath from her lungs and stealing her smile. She searched for something to say. “Ah. Now I find out you’re a flatterer, too.”
“Wrong. I don’t flatter. I say what I mean. Always.”
Hope Toler Dougherty holds a Master’s degree in English and taught at East Carolina University as well as York Technical College. A member of ACW, RWA, and SinC, she has published articles on topics ranging from gardening with children to writing apprehension. She blogs for Almost An Author. She and her husband, Kevin, chat with their two daughters and twin sons through ooVoo from North Carolina. Her first novel, Irish Encounter, was released in May, 2015. Connect with Hope at hopetolerdougherty.com.