Chasing Pearl is only available in e-book format in the Yesterday’s Mail box set. Click the link below to purchase it directly from Amazon:
Olivia Kimbrell Press
EBook ISBN: 978-1-68190-126-8
The Back Cover:
A package lost in the mail since 1940 brings a modern couple together in a miraculous way.
Bestselling author VIOLET PEARL lives a perfectly content life: she helps run The Texas Pearl, her family’s inn, lives with her sister and grandmother, and attends a great church just a block from home. She has never left her little corner of Texas and has no desire to do so now. In her spare time, Violet mentally travels to far off New York City, 1944, to solve crimes as the widow Mandalynn Clementine, the savvy slueth in her murder mystery novels.
US Army First Lieutenant CHASE ANDERSON feels like he needs a change. From his duty station in Hawaii, he receives a job offer in the civilian market at the same time he’s asked to coach a pee wee football camp hosted by his alma mater, Texas A&M. Chase decides to take leave and coach the summer camp, intending to also check out the job offer. He has no idea God has other plans for him.
When a time-worn postal package arrives at the inn addressed to Chase Anderson with a 1940 postmark, Violet and Chase discover that his great-grandfather had also visited the inn as a guest all those years before. The box brings them together in a miraculous way, and their feelings for each other begin to grow.
Will Chase resign his commission and live out his days in College Station? Or is Violet willing to break out of her perfectly contented shell and experience life beyond her little corner of Texas?
EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK:
Chase stared at his computer screen, re-reading the offer letter. “God,” he said out loud, “I sure would appreciate some clarity.”
His phone chirped, and he answered as he shut the lid on the laptop. “Mom,” he said by way of greeting.
“Hello, son. How’s it going?”
He looked around the little room. A full-sized bed with a walnut four-poster bed frame sat in the center of the far wall, with matching walnut bed stands on either side. A white quilt covered the bed, and blue throw pillows brought out the faint blue flowers in the white patterned wallpaper. On the wall, walnut picture frames held pencil drawings of flowers native to this part of Texas. A simple desk sat across from the bed, with a telephone and a drawer full of stationary from The Texas Pearl Inn. An overstuffed white armchair sat in a corner next to the desk. The small bathroom had a stand-up shower and a basket of soaps and lotions from a local vendor.
“It’s strange how right it felt when I walked out of the airport. The feel in the air, the barometric pressure, the sights I saw on the drive to where I’m staying. I am really anticipating walking into the stadium again.”
“I imagine. Years of your life were spent there, formative years.” Maxine paused. “You’d probably feel the same way if you stepped off a plane in the desert. Another stretch of formative years in combat. I bet you’d have similar feelings, which would likely confuse you.”
He thought about the psychology behind what she said, what she implied. “I think you’re right.”
“Especially since your dad…” her voice broke, and Chase felt his heart tighten in his chest. She almost said especially since his dad died while he was overseas. He knew. After a brief pause, she asked, “How are you?”
His throat tightened, and he stared intently at the perfectly made bed. “Mom, I seriously can’t unpack that right now. I miss dad. I need to talk to him, and I don’t know what to do about that.”
“Yeah.” Maxine said the word on a sigh. “I know what you mean.”
As he turned his wrist, his watch screen came on. “I need to be at camp soon, and I still need to eat. Did you need to talk or were you calling to see if I needed to talk?”
Maxine laughed, a normal, happy laugh. The tightness in his chest loosened at the sound. “The latter. You are so much like him, you know. You remind me about everything good about him.”
“You doing okay, mom?”
“I don’t know. I think so.” Maxine sighed. “Probably as good as can be expected.”
“I love you, mom.”
“I love you, too. I’m here if you need me.”
Despite the sorrow in his heart, he smiled. “Likewise. Call any time.”
He slipped his phone into the case on his belt, made sure the computer had hibernated when he shut the lid, and grabbed his backpack and bike helmet. As he walked out of the room, he turned and checked it, making sure he hadn’t forgotten anything and that everything was in its place.
Downstairs, he walked into the breakfast area and saw Scarlett placing a hotel tray inside a chaffing dish that sat over a blue flame.
“Am I too early?”
She spun around, obviously startled by his voice. “Not a bit. We start serving at seven. Help yourself. Almost everything is out. Good coffee this morning. It’ll raise a blood blister on a boot.”
“Okay. Uh, thanks.”
He loaded a plate with melons and scrambled eggs and filled a bowl with plain yogurt. Armed with a cup of surprisingly good coffee, he sat at the end of one of the two long tables in the room and picked up one of the newspapers that lay scattered on the tables. As he skimmed the headlines, noting anything of importance to his military world, he glanced up when the door to the kitchen opened. A tall woman with straight reddish-brown hair came out, carrying pitchers of juice in each hand. The woman he’d helped yesterday had on a baseball cap and safety goggles, so he hadn’t had a chance to get a look at her face. The bandage covering this woman’s chin tipped him off.
“Good morning,” he said warmly. “Nice to see you survived.”
She glanced at him quickly then looked away, ducking her head slightly as she did. After she set the pitchers down, he watched her shoulders straighten, and when she turned, her smile brightened her face but did not reach her eyes. “I sure did. Reckon I owe you some tissues.”
Her Texas twang made the words sound like “Ah shore dee-yud.” Her voice came out softer than the skin of an infant and smoother than the richest cream. She stuck her hands in her back pockets and paused at his table.
“Thank you for helping yesterday. I don’t get why I reacted the way I did, though in hindsight, I’m not sure I would have made it to the porch on my own gumption. Had a hitch in my get-along for sure.”
He waved a hand. “Your brain would have eventually kicked in. There are different responses to moments like that. We’re designed to handle them once we get past the initial reaction. I’m sure you would have done just fine.” He looked at her bandage. “How many stitches?”
“Nine. Can you believe it? That’s nine more than I ever had in my whole life. I know it’s going to leave a lovely scar.”
“Well, you can’t tell anyone you cut your face on a Weedeater. You’ll have to come up with some fantastical story about a knife fight or a fall from a cliff for all the people who are going to ask you what happened.”
She laughed, and the sound danced through the empty room. Her eyes finally lit up, and the wariness left her face. She had violet colored eyes with flecks of silver. They fascinated him. “I reckon I’ll get asked often enough I’ll get tired of hearing ‘Weedeater.’ I’ll have to put all of my mad skills to use in coming up with an appropriately grand explanation.”
Chase slowly stood and extended his hand. Remembering Jacob’s greeting from the day before, he said, “We’ve howdied but we haven’t shook. Chase Anderson.”
Violet took her hand out of her pocket long enough to shake his hand exactly once, right and proper—up, down, and out. “It’s nice to officially meet you, Mr. Anderson. I hope you enjoy your time here this summer. Let me know if we can do anything for you.”
“Thanks.” As she left him to go back into the kitchen, he picked the paper up again but had a hard time refocusing on the world news. Instead, all he could think about was how bright her eyes shone once she laughed.
When he finished eating, he walked outside. The humid morning greeted him, promising a hot day. He glanced up at the sky as two mourning doves flew past, chattering to each other. At the shed, he found his new bike. He’d taken it on a test ride yesterday, so he felt comfortable slipping on his helmet and pedaling down the road. The location of the inn made for an easy bike ride to the stadium. He turned into the parking lot of Kyle Field within ten minutes. They’d renovated since he’d last seen it, and he slowly pedaled while he took in the exterior changes he could see.