Awakening Avery by Laurie Lewis
"You're depressed," the doctor declared. "Ya think?" is author Avery Elkins Thompson's sarcastic response. She can’t pull out from the malaise that set in following her husband's untimely death, and her adult children fear they are losing her too. She can't write, and questions about their father's death leave the family mired in pain. "We need a healing place," her oldest son tells her, suggesting she find it on Anna Maria Island, Florida, a former family vacation spot. When Avery returns to Baltimore to sell the family's waterfront condo, she meets rodeo-ers-turned-real-estate-brokers Teddie and Rider Davis, and Avery's quiet life will never be the same again. The Davises help arrange a short-term house swap with widower Gabriel Carson from Anna Maria, whose overprotective parenting has resulted in two self-centered, twenty-something daughters. Avery and Gabriel are in for the summer of their lives as they step into one another's messy, complicated worlds. Still, venturing out on her own again is challenging for Avery, whose experiences at the Ringling's magnificent Ca d'Zan mansion, and with the quirky characters she meets there, eventually awaken her to truths she desperately needs to remember—that God has not forgotten her, and as crazy as life can be, it is possible to laugh and love again.
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Avery sighed as she switched the desk lamp off and headed down the hall, passing the “wall of fame,” where all the kids’ photos were on display. She passed a favorite vacation photo and straightened it, though the frame already hung perfectly square. She knew the frame wasn’t off. She was. More accurately, it was her reaction to a sweet moment from years ago on one of the family’s nightly walks along the beach on Anna Maria Island in Florida that was off kilter. Jamie snapped the photo of Avery and Paul as they posed before the fabled beach house of a man who had become a legend along the island. Only after the photo was printed did Avery realize that Jamie had actually caught the widowed owner of the sprawling Victorian home standing like a solitary ghost on the widow’s walk. He and his solemn, lonely watch contrasted sharply with the happy images of Avery and Paul in the foreground. Avery’s finger traced along the image of Gabriel Carson, the mysterious, romantic widower. He had so fascinated Avery’s writer’s instinct that she hounded the locals for more information on him until she discovered where his florist’s shop was located. Her cheeks still flushed when she recalled how she studied the handsome loner from outside his business’s storefront window, watching him chat and laugh with the waiting customers as he arranged their opulent bouquets. But when they exited, leaving him alone, Avery watched his eyes dim as his face settled into quiet soberness. His aura had haunted her for weeks, and when she and the family returned home to Utah from their summer jaunt, she fashioned a character in one of her books after the intriguing Mr. Carson. Avery bit her upper lip and shrank, as goosebumps spread across her arms in shame. How many times she had given thanks that she and Paul weren’t that man, mired in enduring mourning. It all seemed so ironic. So selfish. So shameful. “I’m right there with you,” she said to the man in the photo.
"It will melt your heart, kick off forgotten emotions and have you rooting for a love that was past due. You're going to some tissues for this one."
"As always, Ms. Lewis writes characters who really make the story special . . . They are portrayed in such a way that the story becomes ‘real’… entirely believable, and very relatable."
"A wonderful second chances story."
"Wow. Catching my breath...I simply cannot put into words what a beautiful ride this was. It was complex and raw and real. This author does a phenomenal job, in my opinion, of weaving plot and character in such a way as they are seamless. I felt like I was living in the pages. Once my heart recovers I will be diving back in for another read. Simply wonderful."
Author Laurie Lewis
Wherever life takes her, Laurie Lewis will always be a Marylander at heart—a weather-whining lover of God, Maryland crabs, American history, and the sea. She’s an award-wining hybrid author of ten published novels. Her contemporary romantic fiction novels include Awakening Avery, (2018), Love on a Limb, (2017), Sweet Water, (2017), The Dragons of Alsace Farm (2016), and Unspoken (2004), written as Laurie Lewis. Using the pen name L.C. Lewis, She wrote the five volumes of her award-winning FREE MEN and DREAMERS historical fiction series, set against the backdrop of the War of 1812: Dark Sky at Dawn (2007), Twilight’s Last Gleaming (2008), Dawn’s Early Light (2009), Oh, Say Can You See? (2010), and In God is Our Trust, (2011). She’s the recipient of the 2017 RONE for Inspirational Fiction, a New Apple Literary Award, A BRAGG Medallion, and she was twice-named a USA Best Books and Whitney Award Finalist. She’s currently working on a sequel to Love on a Limb, a WWII biopic, (2020) and under contract with a traditional publisher for a romantic suspense novel expected for a 2020 release. Laurie loves to hear from readers.