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Monday, February 9, 2015

Small Town Brunch with @melissa_keir #RB4U #foreverlove

Welcome to Romance Books 4 U...I'm Melissa Keir, your flight attendant for today's trip. We are traveling to small town Amherst, Ohio. Yes, it's a real town-my hometown and the setting of my Wilder Sisters Series. A favorite place for me to visit when I return home is Hot Dog Heaven. It was a high school hang out and popular restaurant, with a homey feel.

So make sure your seat belt is fastened and your snack tray is in the up position. We're heading off to Amherst where Syn Wilder in Forever Love has returned to her hometown to care for her ailing father, but she's come face to face with her past love.

Deciding to get out of the house, we headed out for dinner at a popular local restaurant. The Armors Diner was located in an old home that had been converted into a homey place to eat. They had a full menu, containing anything that might tickle your fancy, but they had the best Coney dogs and fries. The Armors was a favorite hangout for the high school crowd, so the walls were covered with photos from all the sports stories covered by the local newspaper. The place was packed, but we found a spot at a small table near the large front window.

The Armors held a lot of fond memories from my time in high school. I used to come to the restaurant as much as I could to hang out and visit with my friends. We would always order the large fries and talk about the boys we liked. The restaurant also had its share of sad memories too—mostly surrounding T.J. and our time together. As if just thinking about him caused him to appear, I looked up to find him walking through the door, alone, and heading directly over to our table.

“Hi Syn, Mr. Wilder. Do you mind if I join you? This place is packed, and I hate to eat alone.”

“Hello Thom. Nice to see you. What have you been up to lately? I haven’t seen you since you dated Syn, here. I must have scared you off good,” Dad replied with a grin.

“Mr. Wilder, you didn’t scare me off. Syn decided to run away to the big city and leave this small town behind.” T.J. winked at me, so I stuck my tongue out at him.

I felt like an idiot while they spoke about me, and a little shocked that Dad didn’t remember T.J. being at the recent fire. “Hello—I am sitting right here. You shouldn’t talk about me like I’m invisible.” They continued to ignore me, in favor of the conversation. I took the moment to look at T.J. He certainly had grown up. I studied his profile, trying to find a small part of that little boy who was my best friend growing up. His strong jawline and full lips were new to me. His baby fat was gone, but his strong nose was the same. The aquiline had a bump that always looked like he had broken it, which earned him the nickname Rocky. I loved his smile. It was a full grin that lit up his whole face and made his eyes twinkle. I wish I could go back and have a chat with my teenage self. I would share with her just how sexy T.J. was today. Of course, I would probably also have a few words to say to teenage T.J. too. After all, I wasn’t the only one in that relationship.

My ears perked up when I heard Dad invite T.J. over for dinner tomorrow night. It will be nice to give Dad something to do, but another evening with T.J…can my heart handle it?

The Armors provided a nice dinner among friends. Dad seemed to enjoy talking with T.J. about guns, hunting, and his job at the fire station. Sitting there in the background watching them interact was a treat. Dad was animated, reminding me more of the guy I grew up with than the pale version of himself he had become since my return. He hasn’t been so upbeat in a long time. I don’t think I’ve felt so upbeat in a while, as well. T.J. had many fun stories of life in the station that made us laugh. I was getting reacquainted with the guy I left behind, as he was filling in the missing years.

T.J. had been my best friend growing up. We were childhood playmates. Then, in high school, we turned into a couple. He became my boyfriend. We used to spend a lot of time hanging out at the train depot and talking about our future, but that didn’t last. T.J. was looking for a girl who was sexually active, which wasn’t me. He broke up with me and went on to date other girls who were more physical with him. It was hard watching him move on, but I was going to leave our small town for bigger pastures when I graduated, so I didn’t need to be tied down. Now that I was back, though, would we try to make it work?

Forever Love is book one in the Wilder Sisters Series. 

Fifteen years ago, Syndie Wilder left her small hometown- Amherst, Ohio- to escape the pain of losing her best friend and boyfriend. Deciding that Chicago offered more for an up and coming jewelry designer, she enjoyed the big city life until she chooses to return and care for her father. Taking care of her father and relocating her internet business, Syndie has no time or desire for romance but fate has a way of playing with best-laid plans.

Thom Johnson broke Syndie’s heart all those years ago and regrets it every day. As a firefighter, Thom sets out to protect Amherst and redeem himself for his bad choices. However, he never has forgotten Syndie and the hurt he caused her.

When a chance meeting happens, can the two former friends allow themselves the chance to become friends again, or will the sparks turn a childhood friendship into a forever love?

Melissa Keir has always wanted to be an author when she wasn't hoping for a career as a race car driver.  Her love of books was instilled by her mother and grandparents who were avid readers. She'd often sneak books away from them so that she could fantasize about those strong alpha males and plucky heroines.  In middle school and high school, Melissa wrote sappy love poems and shared them with her friends.  She still has those poems today! In college, her writing changed to sarcastic musings on life as well as poems with a modern twist on fairy tales and won awards for her writing. You can find many of these musings along with her latest releases on her website and blog. 
As a writer, Melissa likes to keep current on topics of interest in the world of writing.  She's a member of the Romance Writers of America and EPIC. Melissa is always interested in improving her writing through classes and seminars.  She also believes in helping other authors and features authors and their books on her blog.

Melissa doesn't believe in down time.  She's always keeping busy.  Melissa is a wife and mother, an elementary school teacher, a book reviewer, an editor for a publishing company as well as an author. Her home blends two families and is a lot like the Brady Bunch, without Alice- a large grocery bill, tons of dirty dishes and a mound of laundry. She loves to write stories that feature "happy endings" and is often found plotting her next story.


vickyb said...

Your hometown sounds a lot like mine. :) And the story sounds great. I'm definitely adding it to my TBR pile!

Tina Donahue said...

Wonderful excerpt, Melissa. :)

Diane Burton said...

I used to live in a small town (pop. 7,000). There was a restaurant with a diner feel that reminds me of the restaurant in your book. Best wishes.

Jennifer Lowery said...

I grew up in a small town, too. Loved it. Book sounds awesome, Melissa! Adding to my TBR list.

Daryl Devore said...

Great excerptt. I grew up in big cities, but now I live out in the country and the local diner in the closest little town is a great place to meet people.

teresa said...

Small town USA for me too. The very best place to grow up.
I love the lovely diner and can picture the great hangout spot it must have been. Great excerpt- sounds like a wonderful story.

Maris said...

I've lived in small, rural towns and big cities. I love the small town atmosphere, but I also love the cultural events available in cities. I feel lucky that I've had the opportunity to enjoy the best of both.

Maris said...

I've lived in small, rural towns and big cities. I love the small town atmosphere, but I also love the cultural events available in cities. I feel lucky that I've had the opportunity to enjoy the best of both.

Cara Marsi said...

What a great excerpt. I grew up in a small city, but we had a place like Armors where the HS kids would go for burgers and shakes.

Melissa Keir said...

Thank you everyone for stopping by. I had a graduating class of about 30 students. I remember one time when I was stopped for speeding, the policeman called my mom to check to make sure I could have the car out. Teachers and friend's parents dated my parents so we were all connected!

Small towns have a wonderful feeling. I moved to Michigan and found another small town for my children to grow up in. There's something safe about growing up where everyone watches out for each other... although the nosy neighbors can be an issue! :)

If anyone gets to Amherst, I highly recommend stopping at O'Armours Hot Dog Heaven. Their cheesy fries are to die for!

vicki batman said...

Hi, Melissa! Did you know you had me at hotdogs? I love them! What a wonderful small-town feel to your excerpt. Congratulations and oxoxox

Margo Hoornstra said...

Love the feel of the diner and everyone knows everyone else character of a small town. I grew up in big cities and raised my kids out in the country on purpose. I'll never go back. Best of luck with TJ and Syn.

Sandy said...

Melissa, your story sounds fantastic. The small town I grew up in until we moved away when I was 13 sounds very much like yours.

D'Ann said...

Grew up in a small town, live on the outside of a small town. Don't wanna be anywhere else! Isn't that a John Mellencamp song?

jean hart stewart said...

Great excerpt...thanks so much. I'm rooting for that couple!

Paris said...

Your hometown sounds lovely! Loved the excerpt and Forever Lover sounds like a great book. I'm a sucker for a happy ending:)

Melissa Keir said...

Thank you again everyone. Why do you think that small towns entice us? Why do they still stay with us even when we are older? My daughter has said when she gets married, she wants to find a small town too!

Rose Anderson said...

I live in a rural area with several "classic" small towns around me. I love it.

I enjoyed your snipped, Melissa. Best luck!

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