Robin’s heart is as cold as her deep blue eyes. After a terrifying childhood, she trusts neither God nor men. With kindness and faith, Tony prays for the opportunity to shatter the wall of ice around her heart. When a frigid phantom from the forgotten past threatens their future, Tony’s unshakable confidence and Robin’s new-found faith must melt the threatening maelstrom.
Sapphire Ice was voted The Book Club Network July 2013 Fiction Book of the Month and nominated as the 2013 Fiction Book of the Year.
Sapphire Ice was featured in the August edition of Book Fun Magazine.
Read the Book:
Sapphire Ice can be purchased in e-book format at the following places:
Olivia Kimbrell Press
An autographed copy of Sapphire Ice can be purchased in paperback directly from the publisher, Olivia Kimbrell Press, by clicking this link:
It can also be purchased in paperback at the following places:
Olivia Kimbrell Press
The Back Cover:
To Robin Bartlett, men were nothing more than violent users. After a hair-raising childhood, Robin and her two younger half sisters battled simply to survive. Determined to give her sisters a very different life from that of their mother; to never have to rely on a man for anything, she worked two jobs and put them both through college, while accepting help from no one. Her heart had turned to ice and she had no use for men or God.
Antonio “Tony” Viscolli had grown up on the streets, homeless. At seventeen, he entered a downtown church with the intent of casing it, but found himself on his knees at the altar. After being fostered by the youth minister, Tony followed God’s leading and eventually became a very successful and powerful businessman. In a fallen world, he was a gem.
When Tony bought the restaurant where Robin bartended, she immediately resented his intrusion into her well ordered, but exhausting, life. She suspected his offering her special attention and constant kindness was merely his way of expecting something from her in return, something she wasn’t willing to give.
Tony knew God had led him to Robin. Would she ever allow herself to trust him? Could she ever allow herself to trust God? Or would the winter of their tragic youth rise from the shadows of the past and freeze any chance at happiness?
Excerpt from Sapphire Ice:
ROBIN stopped near him to grab a carafe of coffee. “How did we manage to get the early shift, Clarence?”
He winked and whispered conspiratorially. “Tell me about it. I have my lunch patrons’ whole lives memorized, but I only know half the people out there.” He looked over her head to the head table. “Boston’s royalty is here.”
Robin was too tired to even be intrigued by Clarence’s abnormal awe. “Maybe we can get Stanley a jester’s hat,” she whispered back, then pushed open the door to the dining room and forced a serious expression onto her face. The door swinging shut cut off his choking laughter.
The dining room was packed with people, seated at tables of eight. The restaurant was closed for the meeting, and it surprised her to see so many people there. But then, most of the customers weren’t members and wouldn’t get many opportunities to dine at Benedict’s, especially for free.
She was given the head table to serve, and knew some of them as regular lunch patrons. She addressed those she knew by name, and tried to discretely read the name tags of those she didn’t. Methodically, she worked her way down the long table, pausing to chat when it was required, fetching drinks as they were needed.
“Mr. Riley, it’s good to see you again. I think it’s been several weeks,” she said, speaking to the president of the Chamber.
“I’ve been on vacation, Robin. Have you ever been to Greece?”
She smiled and filled his coffee cup. “Not yet, but I want to go someday.”
“Beautiful country, dear. If you ever get the opportunity, don’t pass it up.”
“If a trip to Greece ever falls into my lap, I’ll remember your advice.” She moved to the next person while Riley continued to speak.
“Tony, if you’ve never had Robin here serve you, you’ve been missing out on the best that Benedict’s has to offer.”
“Yes. I think I’ve heard something similar about her before.”
The smooth voice seemed familiar, but she couldn’t quite place it. She took her attention from the cup and lifted her head, her eyes crashing into a pair of black eyes that seemed to look all the way inside of her, instantly learning all her secrets. “I didn’t expect to see you here,” he said.
Tony felt deep shock when he’d seen Robin enter the dining room. He’d had time to recover as she worked her way to him, and had nearly gained back enough self control to not show any outward reaction as she leaned in from behind him to pour his coffee. He had already had his normal morning quota of two cups, but allowing her to serve it gave him a chance to have her stop at his shoulder. As she completed her task, he caught her scent, something exotic and spicy, entirely feminine. Then she met his eyes and he thought that his heart would beat itself out of his chest.
When she looked away, it broke the spell, but a tremor in his hand that he neither liked nor appreciated remained. He was better prepared when she looked directly at him again, and concentrated fully on keeping his brain functioning.
“Do I know you?” She asked, her voice soft so as not to carry.
He kept his voice as soft as hers. “Not officially.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t … ” her eyes skimmed his name tag, “I don’t recall meeting you, Mr. Viscolli.”
His teeth flashed white against his olive skin. “I unofficially met you last night.”
Panic skirted up her spine and she looked around the room. Lowering her voice even farther, she leaned closer so that he could hear her. “Please, don’t say anything. I … we can’t … I mean, another job … ”
He placed a hand on her wrist, startling her. His hand felt rough, but warm. Warm enough that it sent heat up her arm, causing her to flush. “So, what you’re saying is that your job may be in my hands.”
The flush that covered her cheeks was no longer from heat, but from the anger he saw flash in her eyes. “Release me, sir.” She bit out.
He didn’t think he could. “What would you do to keep your job, I wonder?”
She could never take him on in a game of cards. Every cruel thought in her imagination seared right through her sapphire eyes and bored into his, which he struggled to keep impassive. Still, she maintained her cool façade, something he deeply admired amidst his mirth. Tony carefully bit down on the inside of his lip to keep himself from laughing at her next words. “I don’t play those games, Mr. Viscolli. Remove your hand, or else I’ll remove it.”
He shifted his grip until his fingers encircled her wrist. They overlapped on the thin bones, and this time he did chuckle. “You think you could?”
In a panic, knowing how long she was taking with this customer, she glanced up and spotted Clarence watching her. Baring her teeth, she leaned close to this man’s ear and whispered. “I can and I have, on men bigger than you. Are you willing to test me?”
With a grin, he reluctantly let her go. It was that or drag her into his lap, and he didn’t think anyone in the room would appreciate that too much. “Perhaps another time I’ll take you up on your challenge.”
Unable to stand the thought of leaving him with the last word, she leaned forward again, barely speaking above a whisper. “If the thought of seeing you again didn’t repulse me, Mr. Viscolli, I’d almost look forward to it.”
With that she moved on down the table, ignoring his chuckle that followed her parting shot. She found it especially challenging to keep a polite smile on her face and make inane chatter with the other patrons as she continued to serve while seething inside. How dare he?
She headed back into the kitchen to get more coffee and Clarence immediately intercepted her. “Did you have a problem with that man, Robin?”
Out of earshot of the customers, she was able to slam things around, surprised that she didn’t break the glass coffee carafe. “Nothing I couldn’t handle,” she said, slamming the top back on her serving container.