Where the Heart Lies
by Michelle Garren Flye
All widowed Alicia Galloway has left of her war-hero husband are the flag that draped his coffin and his final wishes: to move to his hometown, take over the family bookstore and enjoy a simple, quiet life with their two small children. When she arrives, her husband’s best friend makes that new life anything but simple. How can she be so drawn to Liam Addison?
Liam only intended to help Alicia get settled. But one unexpected kiss awakens his long-held forbidden feelings. Soon, the town busybodies swoop in to warn Alicia away from him. Because no matter the man he’s become, he’ll never live down his reputation as town troublemaker and wolfish womanizer.
No one wants the war hero’s sweet widow and the supposedly former bad boy together. But the more everyone tries to keep them apart, the closer he and Alicia get. And the more determined Liam is to prove he’s a changed man. Will it be enough to convince Alicia to let a new love in her life?
Alicia came out of the bathroom, fastening an earring. She looked amazing in a long black skirt and white silk blouse with her brassy red hair falling over her shoulders. For a moment he had trouble breathing.
He’d considered bringing flowers, but he’d known what Penny’s opinion of that would be, and more importantly he hadn’t wanted to do anything that would make Alicia uncomfortable. Confronted by her beauty, however, his fingers felt empty, as if he needed something to offer just for the opportunity to look at her. Was this how Aphrodite’s worshippers had felt as they left their worldly goods at the feet of her statue in ancient Greece?
What was the inspiration to write this book?
Inspiration comes from everywhere, but for me it’s usually rooted in the stories I see already taking place around me. I distinctly remember thinking about writing Where the Heart Lies. We were in the car on a road trip, and I was holding my daughter’s Little Mermaid doll and thinking of a friend whose husband was in Afghanistan. I live in eastern North Carolina and many of my neighbors and friends are military or married to military or retired military, so although I have never served in the military, I have a healthy respect for those who do, and an even healthier respect for those who have to see their husbands, wives or significant others go off to war without any real guarantee they’ll ever be back.
I began inventing Alicia, a military widow facing a life with two children without her husband, who died in Afghanistan. How do you come back from something like that? I looked at my husband in the driver’s seat and wondered how I would handle it. I glanced back into the back seat at my children and hoped they would never have to face such a thing. And I said a little prayer that my friend would not be confronted by what I planned to write about.
Alicia needed to be as self-sacrificing as her husband to be the truly strong heroine I imagined her to be, so I made her an orphan and sent her to take care of her husband Ty’s elderly parents, leaving behind the city she loved to fulfill her husband’s obligations. I encountered a problem then. I wanted my tall, beautiful, red-haired heroine to fall in love with someone else, but she was grieving for her husband, as she should be. What kind of hero could entice her to fall in love with him when she’s already lost the man she will love forever?
Liam grew out of these musings. A high school friend of her husband, he enters her life to repay an old debt. They’ve met before, but Liam remembers it more vividly than Alicia. Liam has a darker side, an addiction to alcohol and women that his small hometown won’t let him forget. He’s overcome his addictions to become a business owner and a respected college professor, but he hasn’t outlived his reputation at home. In spite of the gossips, Liam returns again and again to help Alicia get her new life started.
I intentionally let the love story grow slowly between Alicia and Liam. Neither one of them wants to betray Ty’s memory, in spite of their mutual attraction. Although Where the Heart Lies is a romance, it’s also a story of healing and emotional growth. It’s only as Alicia begins to heal and find she can overcome obstacles on her own that she discovers she can love again, too. And Liam has to learn to see her as herself and not Ty’s wife before he can allow himself to admit he loves her.
The inspiration for Where the Heart Lies is the question I think haunts everyone who loves. Can you start over if your world is ripped apart? If a part of your heart is buried forever, can you find the strength to be happy again?
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Michelle Garren Flye is a mother, writer and editor based in coastal North Carolina. She obtained her degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1992. Not liking the hours required of a journalist, she went on to obtain a Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1997. When her first child was born in 2000, she packed her diplomas away and began a new life as a stay-at-home mom, which fortunately afforded her the opportunity to pursue her writing on a semi-regular basis.
Michelle has served in various capacities for several online and print literary endeavors, including Dark Recesses, edifice WRECKED, Horror Library, Butcher Shop Quartet, and Tattered Souls.
Michelle is the author of three romance novels, Where the Heart Lies (Carina Press 2012), Winter Solstice (Lyrical Press 2011) and Secrets of the Lotus (Lyrical Press 2010). Michelle also self-published a fiction book titled Weeds and Flowers for the Kindle in December 2011.
Blog: BREATHE: http://michellegflye.com
***Blog Tour Giveaway***
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