It's a Sunday after-church tradition. Following Mass, my husband and I head straight to National Coney Island for breakfast. It's a family-style diner. There's dish clatter, a flood of conversation, kids laughing (and crying!) and folks wiping sleep from their eyes as they hunker in with a cup of coffee, some pancakes, or some bacon and eggs.
It's comfort, and comfort food, that's as familiar to us as a sunrise, and we've even gotten to know a number of the waitresses. When my husband had hip replacement, a few of them even made it a point to stop by and chat, wondering how his recovery progressed. I love this place, and it became the inspiration for my Sal's Place Series.
After all, can't you imagine Jennifer strolling the aisles, taking orders and serving customers with a smile? Sal Cocossa hard at work cooking behind the flat top grill? Luke and Callie West having dinner together? Ryan Douglas stopping in for a quick cup of coffee while patrolling the streets of Detroit?
Today, Sal's Place has a new entry - By Appointment Only! I want you to get to know Matt Bellinger and Heather Cavanaugh - so, to celebrate, I'm giving away an autographed, print copy of Search & Rescue (Book 1) and Beautiful Music (Book 2). All you have to do is leave a comment, talking about your favorite spot to savor down-home comfort food and casual atmosphere. I can't wait to hear from you! Don't worry about reading the series in order, or being lost if you haven't read them all - these are stand-alone romances full of faith, hope, and love.
Giveaway winners will be announced next Saturday right here at the blog, so be sure to check back!
BY APPOINTMENT ONLY ~ BLURB
Political dynamo Matt Bellinger understands he has an unyielding responsibility to work hard for the betterment of his community and the world around him. Life, he believes, should be built strictly on effort and tangibles, not an elusive faith.
But that belief is challenged when a bill to spearhead volunteerism leads him to canvassing efforts at Detroit's legendary diner, Sal's Place, and a meeting with Heather Cavanaugh. His polar opposite, the street-smart beauty challenges his heart and perceptions. She's the head stylist at Optiva, a trendy, upscale hair salon in downtown Detroit, as well as a tireless volunteer giving back to the city she loves in honor of the God she serves.
Love blooms, gradually shifting Matt's perceptions. But when a life-threatening illness in his family challenges that fledgling faith, will he be able to hold fast to his newfound beliefs? Will he discover that faith makes all things possible and love makes all things beautiful?
BY APPOINTMENT ONLY ~ EXCERPT
Matt made it to the hospital in plenty of time to give Mandy’s untethered arm a gentle squeeze and dot her forehead with a kiss. He loved the way her eyes lit up at the sight of his gift—a big, pink teddy bear with get-well-soon balloons tied to its paws. Once the pre-operative sedative kicked in, Mandy became sluggish, so Matt followed his family out of the room. Only Rick and Stephanie stayed behind.
In the waiting room, the O’Connors and a few couples from Rick and Stephanie’s church that Matt had never met before convened to wait for word from the OR. As a group, they joined hands and murmured a prayer. Matt watched, compelled by the scene, and he thought instantly of Heather, of how readily and easily she had prayed at dinner, just like these people prayed now. She was comfortable with her faith and her beliefs, as well as the pattern of her life.
Matt felt a stab of yearning that had nothing to do with the love he held for Heather. Rather, the ache that swelled through his chest as the prayer session ended stemmed from the fact that he could feel the peace that flowed. He saw it in their eyes and in the more relaxed way they moved.
But he couldn’t taste it for himself. He was an outsider, hungry yet rootless, staring through plate glass at a feast meant to fill and quench.
How, he wondered, could he ever break through?
“Hey there, handsome.”
From behind, that quiet, subdued summons reached his ears…then entered his heart.
Matt spun, face-to-face with Heather who stepped straight into his arms and held on tight.
The love that washed through him was so powerful, words failed.
BY APPOINTMENT ONLY ~ PURCHASE LINKS