There’s nothing more heartbreaking, regardless of how the story ends, then going through someone else’s memory of love (The Notebook, I’m looking straight at ya). And I’m so happy to have Tracey and her series back!
The Magic of a Kiss (Return to the Home Front, #4) by Tracey L. Dragon released Tuesday in the Adult, Romance genre.
In 2015 when Nicki Stewart, an Army widow, arrives at the lake cottage bequeathed to her, she finds not only Lt. Josh Taylor, a cocky Navy Pilot, residing next door, but also an old diary left for her by Maggie, her deceased husband’s great aunt. When Nicki shares with Josh the colorful details about Hank, a man mentioned in Maggie’s diary, Josh shows her a journal written by the same guy. Before long, the two neighboring strangers become engrossed in the magic of a long-gone era.
In 1950 Maggie Frank, a prim librarian, buys a duplex cottage at Olcott Beach, NY where she learns that the man residing next door is both a womanizer and a drunkard. Hank Jones, a World War II Veteran struggling to adjust to civilian life, is at first annoyed but later intrigued by the straight-laced Maggie whose situation he finds puzzling. Before long, the two opposites become friends in an odd sort of way until the day Maggie’s secret is exposed, and they go their separate ways. When Hank returns unannounced on Christmas Eve, Maggie must decide if love can overcome the wounds of the past.
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The sound of the waves had a calming effect on Hank’s precarious mental state as he sipped his strong brew and pondered his neighbors next door. Finally, curiosity got the better of him, and he knocked on the screen door which opened shortly after the first couple of raps.
Wearing his cockiest smirk, he greeted the slight woman whose head was covered by a large-brimmed sunhat. “Hi, I’m your neighbor, Hank Jones. I just wanted to introduce myself and possibly beg a couple of aspirin from you if you don’t mind?”
The woman paused at the sound of his voice as if she were surprised to find him standing there. Then slowly she lifted the brim of her hat so he could see the face that had been hidden underneath and he almost swallowed his tongue. Shit, I should have shaved. She’s one fine-looking dame. He must have caught her on her way out to the beach for she was wearing a blue, rather prim swimsuit and had a book tucked beneath one arm with a folded blanket under the other.
She glared at him as if he were something slimy that slithered out from underneath a rock.
He turned on his well-practiced charm. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. I’m your neighbor. I just wanted to introduce myself and possibly beg a couple of aspirin from you,” he repeated again.
She peered at him through a pair of unforgiving indigo-blue eyes that pierced his soul. “Your head hurt? I’m not surprised after the bender you’ve been on.”
He frowned. How does she know I got drunk yesterday and the day before? The shadowy female image from earlier crossed his mind again. God, did we meet yesterday, and I don’t remember? Did anything else happen I’m not aware of that might be responsible for the nasty glower she’s giving me? Geez, I hope not.
“Excuse me,” he said. “Did we perhaps meet yesterday evening?”
“Not properly, you were a bit under the weather to put it nicely and quite frankly you don’t look a great deal better now, except perhaps, you’re managing to stand up without support,” she said, her tone frosty.
Damn. He rubbed his hand back and forth over his chin, the stubble reminding him that he looked far from his best. What could he say? He couldn’t very well ask what happened last night. By his neighbor’s tone, whatever he did, it clearly wasn’t good. Perhaps, he should begin again. “How about we start over?” He extended his calloused hand. “I’m Hank Jones. Please let me apologize if I said or did anything yesterday to offend you.”
She glared at him and turned her pert little nose up. “Name’s Margaret Frank.” She ignored his outstretched hand. “I think it’s best we try and stay out of each other’s hair while we’re here. I’m not fond of drunkards.”
“I’m not a dr . . .” he started to say, but floundered when she knowingly raised a brow in disbelief. Was he? No, he could stop anytime he chose to. That is, if he wanted to which he damn well didn’t want to do, so Ms. Teetotaler could kiss his ever-loving behind.
“Now,” she said, stepping out of her door, “if you will excuse me, I’m planning to catch some sun before the clouds come out.”
“About those aspirin?”
She ignored him and pulled her sunglasses down over her cool yet still magnificent eyes. “I suggest you go into town and buy a new bottle. At the rate you’re going, you’ll need it.”
There was something about Miss Margaret Frank that both irked him and interested him at the same time. “That’s not very neighborly of you,” he called after her as she walked toward the beach.
“Neither was tossing up your guts on my feet,” she called over her shoulder.
Aw, shit. Did I really go and do that? His all-time low just hit rock bottom.
AUTHOR BIO:Tracey L. Dragon is a relocated New Yorker, former Navy Wife, and retired educator who lives in Yulee, Florida with her husband Bill and Mickey, their black and white Miniature Goldendoodle.
Tracey’s first publication came at the age of twelve when the short poem she wrote about the Apollo moon landing was published in her hometown newspaper. After seven military moves, raising two Navy brats, and twenty years teaching troubled youth and incarcerated adults, she is now able to put her full attention to publishing the children’s stories and historic romance novels she’s written over the years as a hobby.
Tracey’s Adult Fiction Series, “Return to the Home Front” is a collection of dual-time military themed romance novels: The first three books “Cherished Wings”, “When the Geese Fly North” are available in print and Kindle editions now. The third, “When Love Simply Is” will be released in October 2019 by Soul Mate Publishing.
Her “Military Brat Series” for children is also available with 3 stories available now and additional titles coming soon.
Tracey enjoys running, crocheting, and spending time with her grandchildren.
She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Florida Author & Publishers Association.
GIVEAWAYBlitz-wide giveaway (INT)
- $25 Amazon gift card