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About the author:
Ginnie is a French-Canadian author who decided to follow her dreams and live a creative life. She’s been writing since she was fourteen years old and it’s not a surprise that she chose this path. Being an author also allowed her to travel full-time with her boyfriend. Both her childhood dreams came true and she is ready to do whatever it takes to keep writing and traveling. If you want to know more about her lifestyle and where she currently is, check out her travel blog: FarmBoy and CityGirl
What inspired you to write your book?
It’s my first romance novel. For me, it’s all about telling a story that’s been in my head for so long. I just want to spread it to the world and let people enjoy it!
Here is a short sample from the book:
I was sitting on the grass in front of my neighbor’s house, holding Sophie, my daughter, and Jack, Alex’s son, close to me. Tears were streaming down my face at the thought of Alex, the man that I had grown fond of, rushing into the house to save my dog. The fire was so intense; I could feel the heat, even though I was standing far away from it. The black smoke was billowing high into the sky and I could feel it filling my lungs.
I tried putting my jacket over my nose and mouth to protect myself, but it didn’t change much. I could still smell it. It was burning my throat, and I couldn’t talk. I was speechless, completely disconnected from the reality. I wanted to see Alex come out of the house, I was so angry at him. How could he do that to me? To his own son? I knew he was a brave man, but right now he was being stupid and reckless. Yes, I loved my dog, but it wasn’t worth risking Alex’s life.
My eyes couldn’t leave the flames that were leaping out of the windows on the second floor. That was where Sophie said Apollo was before the fire started, and that was where Alex was heading. I didn’t want to look at it, but I couldn’t turn my gaze away. It was stronger than me.
The white brick on the outside of the house had blackened, and all I could hear was the crackling sound of the fire. It was so loud it covered everything else, from the discussions of the firefighters to the crowd whispering behind me.
“Elsie, are you okay?”
The voice seemed to come from far away, but when I turned my head, I realized the person was right next to me. It was Debbie, Alex’s sister. She opened her arms for me and I threw myself into her embrace. I had been trying to stay strong for Sophie and Jack, but it was too hard. Now that Debbie was here, the only friend I had made in Smithfield, I let myself go. I couldn’t hold the new tears that were coming down my face as she slowly stroke my hair, trying to comfort me.
“It’s going to be okay,” she whispered.
I had a lot of doubts about that, but I didn’t say anything. How could she be so strong when her brother was inside a burning house, risking his life?
I looked at her, wiping tears from my face.
“But Alex…” My voice cracked as the image of Alex running inside the house came back to my memory.
“He knows what he’s doing,” said Debbie.
Was she right? Was Alex going to be okay, after all? If she wasn’t worried, then I didn’t have to be. I tried breathing slowly to relax, but the smoke kept going down my throat, making me cough. I had to get myself back together, but it was hard. Wiping the old tears from my eyes, I cleared my face. They had slowed down, but a few were still coming. I grabbed Debbie’s hands, hoping it would make me feel better.
“It’s going to be okay,” she repeated. I looked into her eyes, trying to convince myself that she was right. Alex knew what he was doing. He wouldn’t spend more time than necessary in the house, and the only reason he went in the first place was because he knew he could come out.
I let Debbie lead me from the neighbor’s yard to the fire truck where Sophie had Jack. Getting away from the fire was the right thing to do at the moment.
As we were walking again from the house, we heard it. Loud and impossible to miss: the sound of the second floor collapsing.
I turned around, completely in shock. Alex was still inside. How could he survive something like that?
I couldn’t see clearly. Tears were blocking my vision all over again. All I could see was the explosion created by the collapse and firefighters rushing to the house. What had happened?
I cleared my eyes, and that was when I saw him. Alex. He was lying on the grass outside the house, Apollo on top of him. The dog wasn’t moving, but I could see him breathing, even from the distance. A man took my dog in his arms and ran toward a fire truck while two other men grabbed Alex under his arms. They were safe and I should have been happy about it, but I was still so angry at Alex for risking his life.
After a few seconds, the shock passed and I was able to move again. I started running toward Alex. He was sitting at the back of a fire truck, talking with another man. He seemed fine like nothing had happened.
“How could you?” I yelled at him as I got closer. I should have been grateful, but he had scared me so much that all I could feel was this rage inside me. “You didn’t even tell me…”
My voice broke and he stood up, taking me in his arms. I couldn’t hold back the new wave of tears spilling from my eyes.
“I was so scared,” I managed to say between sobs.
His fingers found their way under my chin and lifted it up so that I looked at him.
“Everything is fine now, Elsie.”
Looking into his eyes, I realized he hadn’t done any of that to be heroic. He’d done it because that was how he was. It was in his nature, and he couldn’t fight it.
I took his face in my hands and pressed my lips against his, kissing him with all the anger that had been churning inside me. He kissed me back, but in a softer way. His lips tasted like salt and smoke, a strange combination that somehow felt good.
He was safe, and that was all that mattered.
“Let’s get out of here,” Alex said. I agreed with him. I didn’t know where to go, but I wasn’t going to stay here forever. My house had gone up in flames and all the clothes I had were the ones I was wearing right now. I didn’t know what was going to happen next, but I didn’t want to stay here one more minute.
Alex took my hand and we made our way to Apollo. My poor dog was shivering, probably traumatized by the experience. When he saw me, his eyes lit up and he started moving toward me slowly. I sat in the grass next to him and hugged my beloved dog. I could feel his muscles relaxing as I was brushing his fur, but he was in bad shape.
“He was hiding under your bed,” Alex said. “Maybe we should drop him at the vet tonight?”
I knew I probably would have to do that to make sure he was all right, but I wanted to spend some time with him.
“It’s probably closed right now. Let’s do it tomorrow first thing, okay?”
Alex agreed, and he hoisted Apollo up into his arms.
“We’ll all go to my place and get some sleep.”
It seemed like a good plan since I didn’t want to be alone yet. I could have gone to a hotel, but tonight I needed more than just Sophie and me.
I followed Alex to his truck. Debbie was there waiting with Jack and Sophie. Alex slowly put Apollo on the ground as Jack ran to his father.
“Dad!” He jumped in Alex’s arms and I hugged Sophie. We both started petting Apollo, and he seemed much better now that he was with the two of us, far from the fire. A man had given him some water, but he probably needed more, and, above all, he needed rest. Like every one of us.
Ten minutes later, we were all in Alex’s house. It wasn’t big, but it was enough for the four of us. Jack didn’t seem to want to sleep, so Sophie had volunteered to read him a book. He was still young and probably didn’t understand what had happened. Sophie would help him get over it; she was so good with people, especially with kids. She seemed to have the biggest heart when it came to children. She took his hand and led him to his bedroom. I was left with Alex in the living room.
“I’ll sleep on the couch,” he said. “You and Sophie can take my room.”
I wanted to argue with him, but I knew it was the best plan. I doubted that Sophie and I could fit on the couch, and he didn’t have a guest room.
“You don’t mind?” I didn’t want to intrude on his personal space, especially only a few days after meeting him.
“Trust me, it’s fine.” He smiled at me and I decided not to argue.
I followed him to the end of the hallway. On the left was Jack’s bedroom, and Alex’s was on the right. He opened the door for me and I walked in.
It was hard to control my curiosity and not look through everything in his room. I barely knew Alex, so this was a good chance I had at understanding him. Everything in this room was a reflection of the person he was. Family pictures were hanging on the gray walls, and that was when I first saw her: Elena, Alex’s late wife.
She was a beautiful woman with short blond hair and blue eyes and a sweet smile on her lips in every picture. She looked like someone I could have liked, but it felt strange to look at her and know that she was gone. She was gone and I was here, sleeping in Alex’s bed. I didn’t know how he felt about that, and I wasn’t going to ask.
My gaze kept scanning the room and I noticed how clean it was. Alex couldn’t have known that we would be sleeping here; it meant he always kept his room tidy. That was a good quality in a person, something I didn’t have. My room had always been messy, and it hadn’t changed yet. Clothes on the floor and piles of books all over my dresser. I wasn’t a fan of organizing.
“The bathroom is on the other side of the wall,” Alex said, pointing in the right direction. “There are some clean towels under the sink. Use whatever you like.”
“Thank you,” I said. I turned around and looked back at him. He was leaning against the doorframe with a sweet smile on his lips. “I mean… for everything: from saving my dog to sharing your home with us.” I hadn’t had any time to thank him yet.
I felt tears coming back to my eyes as reality suddenly hit me. I had no house, no clothes, and no computer. All my original drawing were gone, the pictures of Sophie when she was still a little girl, the gifts that my dad had given me over the years. I had lost all of that in the fire. It wasn’t the material stuff that I was going to miss, but those objects that held so many memories. Those, I would never get back.
Alex came closer to me, holding me in his arms. Feeling his heart beating against my ear made me feel better. I let him comfort me.
“It’s going to be okay,” he whispered in my ear. He was right. It wasn’t going to be perfect, but it was going to be okay.