An accident cost Tracy Jackson not only her high–profile job but also her ability to easily communicate. Back in her California hometown, she's working at the bakery and painstakingly relearning how to speak. Now she has a new mission: to protect her community from Chad Healy.
The travel writer is in Harmony Valley to cover the Harvest Festival. And–big surprise–he's helping Tracy make her dreams happen. But his lampooning style could hurt her town's longtime traditions. Filled with conflicting emotions, can Tracy find the words to let Chad know how she feels before he's gone for good?
Although Melinda has lived in Georgia and Texas, she's a California girl at heart. Her earliest memories are of life on an isolated 50-acre sheep ranch in rural Sonoma County, California. Picture rolling hills covered in brown grass, a eucalyptus forest, a long, steep gravel driveway lined with plump sheep, no sidewalks and no cable television. Baseball on the radio, a good book, or a game of solitaire or hearts helped Melinda pass the time. It was a big deal to drive into town on a one-lane road in a ramshackle, bubble-fendered pickup for an ice cream.Later her family moved to the suburbs of the San Francisco Bay Area where Melinda was excited to discover children her own age living just across the street! But the seed of independence and a love of books had already been planted. Some days, Melinda's friends had to beg her to put down her book and come outside to play.It was the same way with Melinda's courtship. "My husband, Curt, was on the basketball team in college. I was pretty focused on school. He literally tried to bowl me over with a basketball. Each morning he would roll one at my feet from across the gym - lightly, thank heavens - until I got wise and watched out for him. Curt pretty much dragged my nose out of the books." Two years later, in 1984, Curt and Melinda got married on the college commons.The couple moved to Athens, Georgia, so that Melinda could attend graduate school there. Upon her graduation they moved to Dallas, where their first son, Mason, was born. "Having changed maybe one diaper prior to giving birth, I figured it was time to move closer to home," Melinda admits wryly. Soon, Mason had a little brother, Colby, and then a sister, Chelsea. "I think we spent nearly eight years in diapers," notes Melinda. "Eight is enough."During the diaper years to the present, Melinda has worked full-time for the largest winery in the world in their consumer research department. "The job involves listening to what people say and what they don't say about their lives and how wine fits into it. Focus groups, personal in-home interviews, shopping trips - I go anywhere wine drinkers are," says Melinda. "I've been all over the U.S., as well as to places beyond, like Tokyo and Puerto Rico. My family really enjoys the frequent flyer miles." Down time in airports, on planes and in hotels drove Melinda crazy, until she rediscovered her love of writing.Melinda has always been an avid reader of just about anything - romance, mystery, suspense, fantasy, biographies - and she always loved to write. She wrote her first romance for her friends in the seventh grade, featuring their heartthrobs, including Leif Garrett. Melinda doesn't know what ever happened to Leif, but she's certain he didn't marry one of her girlfriends, although they each ended up with heroes of their own."That's what I like about romances," says Melinda. "There's always a satisfying ending. It may be a comedy, suspense, mystery or drama, hot and steamy or sweetly romantic, but you're still guaranteed the happily-ever-after."Melinda would love to hear from romance readers and writers (aspiring or published) either through email at Mel@melindacurtis.net, or snail mail at P.O. Box 150, Denair, CA 95316