The Magic of a Kiss
Tracey L. Dragon
(Return to the Home Front, #4)
Published by: Soul Mate Publishing
Publication date: June 24th 2020
Genres: Adult, Romance
In 2015 when Nicki Stewart, an Army widow, arrives at the lake cottage bequeathed to her, she finds not only Lt. Josh Taylor, a cocky Navy Pilot, residing next door, but also an old diary left for her by Maggie, her deceased husband’s great aunt. When Nicki shares with Josh the colorful details about Hank, a man mentioned in Maggie’s diary, Josh shows her a journal written by the same guy. Before long, the two neighboring strangers become engrossed in the magic of a long-gone era.
In 1950 Maggie Frank, a prim librarian, buys a duplex cottage at Olcott Beach, NY where she learns that the man residing next door is both a womanizer and a drunkard. Hank Jones, a World War II Veteran struggling to adjust to civilian life, is at first annoyed but later intrigued by the straight-laced Maggie whose situation he finds puzzling. Before long, the two opposites become friends in an odd sort of way until the day Maggie’s secret is exposed, and they go their separate ways. When Hank returns unannounced on Christmas Eve, Maggie must decide if love can overcome the wounds of the past.
As Maggie Frank strolled along the pebbled shoreline, she bent periodically to pick up shells and to breathe deeply of the fresh air. The late sun’s rays on her face warmed her through and through, and for the first time in a long time, she felt a semblance of peace. That is until she spied a strange man standing on her porch hunched over trying unsuccessfully to open her front door. Thank goodness she had the foresight to lock it.
“Excuse me,” she said, when she reached him. “Can I help you?”
The rather scruffy man bent over her doorknob trying uselessly to unlock it ignored her and continued to jab his key in the lock, mumbling under his breath what sounded like some rather inventive cursing.
“Hello.” She stepped closer. “I’m the owner of the cottage you’re trying to enter. Can I help you? I think you may have the wrong place.”
Finally, the man straightened and turned to face her.
She took a step back, unnerved by his appearance. He obviously hadn’t shaved in several days or bothered to change his clothing, and she’d bet her bottom dollar that he’d slept in them the night before. The odor of alcohol wafting from his breath would have knocked a lesser body over. She couldn’t image how he still stood upright.
He squinted at her then opened his bloodshot eyes wider as if he were having trouble seeing her. “Nope, this is my cottage, I’m sure of it.”
Her heart plummeted into her stomach as the realization hit. Oh, please God, don’t let this be my neighbor. “Perhaps you should try your key in that door.” She pointed to the black one next to hers and held her breath.
“Oh,” was all he managed to mumble as he started to tilt forward.
“Whoa.” Maggie placed her hands on his shoulders to brace him against the cottage wall. “Why don’t you let me have your key, and I’ll see if it opens the other door?”
The drunken man slumped against the gray siding and held out the key, dangling it from the end of his index finger. “Feel free.” He leered. “I could use some pretty little company.”
Knowing from experience how drunks could turn belligerent at the drop of a hat, Maggie kept her mouth shut, snatched the key from him, and inserted it into the locked door next to hers. Darn. The key worked, and the door opened under her hand. Just my luck. She turned to step out of the stranger’s way but bumped into him as he lurched forward and almost fell on her. She let out a deep sigh, cursing the swear words she heard Jimmy use often enough, but usually refrained from doing so herself. She latched on to the man and managed to steer him toward the small couch in the living room where she dropped him sprawled face down.
“Not that you will remember, but I’m Maggie Frank, your neighbor,” she said.
“Hank Jones,” he muttered then promptly threw up at her feet.
Tracey L. Dragon is a relocated New Yorker, former Navy Wife, and retired educator who lives in Yulee, Florida with her husband Bill and Mickey, their black and white Miniature Goldendoodle.
Tracey’s first publication came at the age of twelve when the short poem she wrote about the Apollo moon landing was published in her hometown newspaper. After seven military moves, raising two Navy brats, and twenty years teaching troubled youth and incarcerated adults, she is now able to put her full attention to publishing the children’s stories and historic romance novels she’s written over the years as a hobby.
Tracey’s Adult Fiction Series, “Return to the Home Front” is a collection of dual-time military themed romance novels: The first three books “Cherished Wings”, “When the Geese Fly North” are available in print and Kindle editions now. The third, “When Love Simply Is” will be released in October 2019 by Soul Mate Publishing.
Her “Military Brat Series” for children is also available with 3 stories available now and additional titles coming soon.
Tracey enjoys running, crocheting, and spending time with her grandchildren.
She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Florida Author & Publishers Association.