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Hope, love, and loss meld two polar opposite personalities. How long can they keep passion for their ministry and each other after the wedding?
Medical missionary and avowed bachelor Merit Campbell is wounded during a skirmish at his Mideast clinic and sent home to recover. Restlessness propels him to explore the happier moments of his childhood in Illinois where he meets Amalia Kennedy, owner of The Last Detail, who enjoys helping people prepare for their final years. Merit ushers in new life; Amalia ushers it out. Love? Obviously. Marriage? Check. Dealing with the family closet? Step back…
Amalia enjoys her predictable life in a quiet little Illinois town—until long-time intended, Hudson, finally proposes in a way that shows her boring and old are coming way too fast. When a mutual friend introduces Merit and Amalia, the spark of attraction makes Merit reconsider his bachelorhood. When he can’t return to the mission, he accepts a call as pastor to Amalia’s church. As the two grow closer they weather constant interruptions from ministry, business, and family, even at their wedding and beyond. When tragedy strikes, they must learn to rely on each other in ways they couldn’t have prepared for.
The Last Detail, by Lisa Lickel. $3.99 eBook/$14.99 Print. Get The Last Detail at these retailers:
Or for a chance to win a free copy, leave a comment at the end of this post. Contest ends January 31, 2014. Winner will be notified February 1.
An Excerpt of The Last Detail
Amalia juggled her dish with one hand as she poked at the doorbell of Merit’s house. At eleven o’clock on Thanksgiving Day the sun shimmied from behind wispy clouds. There had been a worship service the evening before, which had been a joyful time of singing and sharing praises. Today would surely be happy, filled with good things. She looked forward to spending it in a house with children, even if they weren’t related to her. Good practice. She smiled as she heard Lawrence giggling inside and pounding feet running across the floor.
A flustered Prudence opened the door. “Portia, get down! Amalia, come in. Here, let me take that. Sweet potatoes. Oh, how yummy they smell. Tricia!”
Amalia went still with the first shock of all the commotion. She had been with Merit’s sister’s family plenty of times before, just not so…confined.
Prudence yelled to the dog, “Portia, no! Tricia, come take this dish to the kitchen, please!”
Lawrence appeared under Amalia’s arm. She rubbed his head. “Hey, Buddy. Happy Thanksgiving. How are you?”
“Lawrence, take Amalia’s coat and hang it…oh, never mind. Here, Tricia.” Pru handed the dish to her daughter who had appeared in stocking feet, then grabbed Amalia’s coat.
Amalia watched Prudence stick her coat on a hanger and thrust it into the closet under the steps. “I don’t blame you, Lawrence. It smells fabulous in here.
Prudence’s muffled voice said, “Merit’s out back, messing with the turkey. He decided to grill it this year. Sort of smoke it, I guess. Tom had this recipe. Men.”
“Hey, I say, any kitchen duty men volunteer for is a good thing. That wall turned out fantastic.”
“Thanks.” Prudence smoothed her hair and grinned.
Amalia walked across the living room to the freshly painted wall opposite. “You did this yesterday?”
“Yup. I thought it would still smell like paint in here. Fortunately we were able to have the windows open.”
“The speckling looks great.” Amalia fingered the darker gold-colored streaks that complimented the sage eggshell paint and made the room feel elegant without being pretentious. “Did Merit like it?”
“Merit thinks his sister is a wonder.”
Merit strode into the room, accompanied by a whiff of cold outdoors and smoke.
Pru whispered, “Don’t do anything that will change his mind.”
Amalia grinned at his apron, adorned with a cartoon turkey that held up a sign saying “Eat More Chicken.”
“I’m glad you could come, Amalia,” Merit said. “Happy Thanksgiving.” He stood there, staring at her, then caught her raised eyebrows at the apron.
Amalia twitched her lips at his flush.
“It was a gift. I’m trying something new with the turkey. It’s out back.” He turned his shoulder and pointed toward the kitchen, though he did not stop looking at her. “Out there. Cooking.”
“Thank you for the invitation. It’s so nice to have a family to share….” Amalia closed her eyes and wished the Madras fault would choose this moment to burp. She opened them before she swayed. “I mean—”
Pru grabbed her shoulders in a hug. “We know. Come on, let’s see how Tricia did with the table.”
With a backward glance at Merit’s bemused expression, Amalia let herself be led from the room to the strains of Lawrence’s question. “Uncle Merit, is Amalia our aunt?”
Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives in a hundred and sixty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. A muti-published, best-selling and award-winning novelist, she also writes short stories and radio theater, is an avid book reviewer, blogger, a freelance editor, and magazine editor. Visit www.LisaLickel.com for more about the book, Starved Rock State Park in Illinois, and to read an excerpt.
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