To satisfy the requirements for her graduate degree in fine art photography, and in turn secure her young daughter's future, Amy Millington is determined to photograph Charles Harding's boarded-up mansion.
The reclusive architect allows no one to enter his former Mission Hills home, the traumatic scene of tragedy when he was four. Charles denies the gutsy widow's request, but Amy is nothing if not persistent. Amy and Marta's plan to teach Charles to have fun and smile again succeeds, and once he learns to appreciate landscape photography as fine art, he relents to open his house for Amy to photograph.
Even if he has no intention of entering it himself.
Then during a photo session, Marta disappears somewhere in the secrets hidden in the hold home. In desperation, Charles enters his house for the first time in over thirty years to help Amy search. He finds Marta behind a forgotten secret sliding panel, holding his mother's long-lost suicide note.
The note tears open his memories and reveals truths he'd long forgotten, opening fresh wounds. Charles must choose between letting those wounds continue to fester, or finally allow them to heal and build a new life with Amy and Marta.
Since the day my mother started reading The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew to the four of us books have been an important part of my life. As a small child I couldn't wait to learn to read, and in school I devoured every printed page I could get my hands on. Summers in Birmingham I rode my bicycle three miles to the local drug store to check out Zane Grey novels which I shared with my father, a tireless breadwinner and avid reader. As a young wife and mother I started church libraries in two small Tennessee towns. Later, when the Bookmobile no longer satisfied the needs of my growing daughters, with the encouragement of my husband, I appeared before the San Diego City Council and City Planning Commission, urging them to purchase property for a library in our fast-growing subdivision before the preferred sites were snapped up by service stations. I bugged city officials so much I was later invited to assist the Mayor at the ground-breaking ceremony for the promised library. Although that library now needs expansion, it is my fondest dream that they'll save room on those crowded shelves for the romance novels I write.
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