02 April 2018

First Love Forever Romance Collection | Spotlight & Excerpt

Welcome to the First Love Forever Romance Collection Blitz Tour!
Be sure to stop by each stop for spotlights and excerpts from the different stories in this collection! Plus you’ll get extra entry points for a wonderful Grand Prize!


A first love is never easily forgotten…
and coming face to face with that person again can be awkward when the heartstrings are still holding on to the “what ifs.”

In settings from 1865 to 1910, nine couples are thrown back on the same path by life’s changes and challenges. A neighbor returns from law school. An heiress seeks a quick marriage. A soldier’s homecoming is painful. A family needs help. A prodigal son returns. A rogue aeronaut drops from the sky. A runaway bridegroom comes home. A letter for aid is sent. A doctor needs a nurse. Can love rekindle despite the separation of time and space?

First Things First by Susanne Dietze: 1877 – South Texas: Texas rancher’s daughter Georgie Bridge mourned when her first love, Ward Harper, left town to study the law, but now he’s back—as opposing counsel in a case against her father.

A Most Reluctant Bride by Cynthia Hickey: 1880 – Ozark foothill ranch: Maggie Spoonmore marries her father’s former foreman, Zach Colton in order to salvage her reputation, yet struggles to believe he married her for love and not her inheritance.

Weeping Willow by Marcia Gruver: May of 1861 – Port Royal, Virginia: In Civil War Virginia, tables are turned for Willow Bates when Julian Finney, her childhood crush and steadfast defender, returns from the war a broken man in need of rescue.

His Anchor by Carrie Fancett Pagels: 1894 – Mackinac Island, Michigan: Robert Swaine, a ship captain, returns to Mackinac Island where his first love, Sadie Duvall struggles to support her siblings. Will she anchor him to the island he has vowed to leave behind?

After the Ball by Martha Rogers: 1910 – Dallas, Texas: Chase Thornton, a wealthy oil man yearns for the life of a cowboy and his first love, Susannah King, but can she trust him to keep his word to leave the city and stay on the ranch?

Lighter Than Air by Lorna Seilstad: 1900 – St. Louis, Missouri: After Titus Knott crashes his hot air balloon behind Ella Mason’s boarding school, he must convince his former sweetheart that his words are true and not full of hot air.

In Due Season by Connie Stevens: 1901 – Whitley, Kansas: Leah Brown accepts her role of town spinster until Gareth Shepherd unexpectedly steps back into her life. Now she’s faced with a choice. Can she forgive the man who jilted her?

Heartfelt Echoes by Jennifer Uhlarik: 1875—Virginia City, Nevada: A short, urgent letter mentioning his childhood love, Millie Gordon, forces deaf Travis McCaffrey to turn to his estranged birth father for help rescuing the woman he can’t forget.

Prescription for Love by Erica Vestch: 1905 – New Orleans: Erstwhile fiancĂ©e Natalie Morrison is the last person Dr. Mackenzie wants as his new nurse, but when an epidemic hits, Phin finds she’s come back into his life at the perfect time.

Publisher: Barbour Publishing
Release Date: April 1, 2018

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Chapter 1

Virginia City, Nevada—October 1875

Travis McCaffrey stared at the front door of the mansion before him. Victoria Gordon Sessums lived here? He extracted her letter from his inside coat pocket and re-read her cryptic words.


I am sorry to write you in this manner, but Millie needs you. We both do. Please come to Virginia City immediately. It is urgent.

Victoria Gordon Sessums

Despite the terrible memories Virginia City held, Travis had dropped everything to cross the Sierra Nevada and come to Millie and her mother’s aid.

Yet he hadn’t expected this.

Years ago, pretty Millie Gordon had told him that her mother was well-off. He’d believed it easily. On the few occasions the woman had visited her daughter at the California School for the Deaf, Victoria’s clothing, the fancy gifts she’d bought Millie, all oozed wealth. But this home was so large and refined it almost made his skin crawl. What could he, a livery-owner’s son, do for a family living in such luxury?

He knocked firmly on the door and, while waiting, took in the picturesque views surrounding him. Situated a little way up the mountain, the mansion overlooked the valley where Virginia City lay, the craggy hill rising behind it. The lavish house was perfectly situated to enjoy both views. He scanned the town below. It had grown immensely in the twelve years he’d been gone.

A sudden whoosh of air alerted him the door opened. Travis turned to find a portly gentleman in dark pants and gray coat, waiting expectantly.

“Hello. I’ve come to speak with Victoria Sessums.” After losing his hearing at eleven, Travis had learned lipreading while at the deaf school. That skill, coupled with his ability to speak clearly, allowed him to act like a hearing person when it suited. And right now, far from home with no friends, such skills suited his purposes very well.

The stout man shook his head. “I’m sorry. Mrs. Sessums is not receiving guests.”

Travis concentrated on the man’s lips. “Oh. Uh…she asked me to come.”

“I’m sorry. The lady of the house is unavailable. Please return another time.”

As the man shut the door, Travis braced a hand against it. “Please. I’ve traveled from San Francisco to see her. Could you at least tell her Travis McCaffrey’s here?”

The gent’s brows lifted. “McCaffrey—from San Francisco?”

“Yes, sir.”

“She’s expecting you.” The man motioned Travis inside. “Wait here while I announce your arrival.”

Travis stepped inside. Once the man disappeared up an impressive arching double staircase, Travis studied the nearby rooms. To the left, a parlor with grand fireplace and lavishly detailed furniture. To his right, a dining room with a long table and many chairs, two huge flower arrangements topping the surface. Directly ahead, an arched doorway led to other parts of the house, though the butler reappeared on the landing above, beckoning him upstairs before he could see more.

Complying, Travis went up the stairs and followed to the last door on the right side of the long hall.

“You may enter.” The butler pushed the door open then disappeared down the hall.

Travis peered into the brightly lit bedroom decorated in rich golds and purples, everything of the latest fashion except for one old chest. The well-worn piece, positioned at the foot of the bed, stuck out in the opulent surroundings. His eye traveled from it to the bed itself. Propped up against a huge pile of pillows, Victoria Sessums smiled weakly at him. She waved him inside.

For an instant, he stared. What had happened? The woman was a mere shadow of the one he recalled from her infrequent visits to the deaf school. Her dark hair was pulled into a simple braid, a few stray curls framing her jaundiced face. Her features, once plump and healthy, were drawn and frail. He finally uprooted his feet and walked to the bed.

“Thank you for coming, Travis.” She signed and spoke the words, then motioned to a richly upholstered wingback chair beside the bed. “Please, sit.”

Aware he was staring, he took the offered chair. “Forgive me for being blunt, ma’am, but what happened?”

She shook her head and began to sign again. “I fell ill months after my husband, Walt, and I married.”

At her stumbling gestures, Travis held up a hand to stop her. “If signing is too taxing, ma’am, I can read your lips almost as well as sign language.”

A weak smile broke across her frail features. “Thank you. Signed conversations are difficult.”

He nodded. “I understand. Please, continue.”

“The doctor says I have gastric fever.” Her features grew pinched, as if she were fighting not to cry. “He hasn’t said so, but I fear I’m dying. I grow weaker each day. I don’t know how much longer I can hang on.”

Without thinking, he took her hand. “I’m truly sorry.”

“Thank you.” Victoria squeezed his fingers. She paused, eyes closing, whether due to weakness or emotion, he wasn’t sure. After a moment, her chest heaved and she looked at him again. “Travis, I’m afraid for Millie if I die. I know your school works hard to teach its students skills to earn a living, but I want someone to look after my daughter. She shouldn’t be on her own. Walt is a good man, but he and Millie haven’t gotten along well. She wouldn’t be happy staying here.”

His thoughts reeled. “What are you asking, ma’am?”

“I know you two meant a lot to each other. She often wrote about you in her letters to me.” The woman paused. “I want you­—and your family—to make sure she’s safe and happy.”


Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she's the award-winning author of a dozen new and upcoming historical romances. A pastor's wife and mom of two, she loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. You can visit her on her website, www.susannedietze.com, and sign up for her newsletter for an occasional cheery hello: http://eepurl.com/bieza5

Multi-published and Amazon and ECPA Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey has sold over a million copies of her works since 2013. She has taught a Continuing Education class at the 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers conference, several small ACFW chapters and RWA chapters. She and her husband run the small press, Winged Publications, which includes some of the CBA’s best well-known authors. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs, one cat, and three box turtles. She has eight grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”.

Best-selling author Marcia Gruver’s southern-comfortable roots lend touches of humor and threads of faith to her writing. When she’s not pounding a keyboard, you’ll find her clutching a game system controller, riding shotgun on Texas Hill Country treks, or sipping mugs of hot tea on the front porch. Lifelong Texans, Marcia and her husband Lee have five children, thirteen grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren—so far.

She says:

“God has been good to my family and unerringly faithful, despite the trials of everyday living. I offered Him the wreckage of my life at a very young age, and He graciously accepted. In return, He provides unfathomable love, stalwart protection, peace in place of fear, joy in times of sorrow, and very broad shoulders to lean on. Doesn’t that describe the ultimate hero? I wholeheartedly recommend you consider Him and His offer of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. You’ll be eternally grateful you did.”

Carrie Fancett Pagels is an ECPA bestselling and award-winning author of Christian historical romance. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! She resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia, which is perfect for her love of history. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time!

Martha Rogers is a multi-published author and writes a weekly devotional for ACFW. Martha and her husband Rex live in Houston, Texas where they are active members of First Baptist Church. They are the parents of three sons and grandparents to eleven grandchildren and great-grandparents to four, soon to be five. Martha is a retired teacher with twenty-eight years teaching Home Economics and English at the secondary level and eight years at the college level supervising student teachers and teaching freshman English. She is the Director of the Texas Christian Writers Conference held in Houston in August each year, a member of ACFW, ACFW WOTS chapter in Houston, and a member of the writers’ group, Inspirational Writers Alive.

Lorna Seilstad has called Iowa home her whole life. She received her B.S. in education from Lubbock Christian University. After her first child was born, she stopped teaching and became a professional wiper. "I wiped noses, tears, skinned knees, baby's bottoms, and countertops every day. But at naptime, I wrote." Today, she writes historical fiction with a generous dash of humor.

Connie Stevens is an author of historical Christian fiction whose stories reflect God's grace and encourage deeper exploration of His love.

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has finaled and won in numerous writing competitions, and been on the ECPA best-seller list numerous times. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, college-aged son, and four fur children.

Best-selling, award-winning author Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. She’s a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota, and she married her total opposite and soul mate! When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. You can connect with her at her website, www.ericavetsch.com where you can read about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at https://www.facebook.com/EricaVetschAuthor/ where she spends way too much time!


(1) Winner will win a prize pack consisting of one print copy of First Love Forever Romance Collection, (1) Print copy of My Heart Belongs in Mackinac Island by Carrie Fancett Pagels (or any other one of her released titles), a pair of handmade earrings (*style subject to change from what is pictured), additional book swag and a $20 Barnes & Noble Gift Card. (Only Gift card open internationally. All items open to US mailing addresses.) To enter, use the Rafflecopter below. Be sure to stop at every stop on the tour for additional entries.


  1. Thanks! I think the Mackinac Island & New Orleans stories look so interesting!

  2. Thank you for being a part of this tour! Your post looks great!

  3. This book sounds so awesome! I love second chance romance tropes.

  4. I am looking forward to reading this book with so many new-to-me authors. Thanks for the opportunity to win this book.

  5. congrats on the tour. this sounds like a wonderful book full of stories with second chances.

  6. Thank you for being part of the book blitz for "First Love Forever". Loved the excerpt and would love the opportunity to read the book.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  7. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity! I'm looking forward to reading this book!

  8. This excerpt was intriguing and the collection on a whole looks good, thanks!

    Mary McCoy

  9. They all look interesting.

  10. congrats on the tour. this sounds like a great book. finding that love may have a second chance gets the heart going. A Most Reluctant Bride sounds heartfelt

  11. on my to buy list. i really like that this author wrote about a hearing impaired man and how he has learned to get along in society

  12. Wonderful excerpt! Thank you for being part of the tour.

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