What COTT Voters Had to Say:
–Susan, I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to read your book. Thank you for sharing your talent with us.
–Loving reading this, Susan Bagnanz.
–I’m so excited for you, Susan! Congratulations.
–Going to order this one today, Susan Baganz! Thank you for writing great books!
–Great job, Susan. Way to go!
–Great cover and great story premise, Susan Baganz.
–Excited about Susan’s book. The title is so intriguing.
–Susan M. Baganz – I like the happy sound of this story!
–Sounds intriguing, Susan Baganz!
–Susan M. Baganz – You are doing great and your stories are so captivating! Thanks for writing and sharing your gift with others!
Sunday was cold. The sun shined brightly, and Renata sat at church surrounded by more of the De Luca clan. Tony winked at her, and they worshipped together. She experienced such joy and freedom in the music and lyrics. This was the new Renata. Free. Joyful. Loved. What a difference from a year ago.
They arrived at Brown Deer Park early, and Tony suggested they take a walk over by a small pond.
“This is such a peaceful place.” Reverent awe filled her voice as she gazed about.
“Sure is, but watch out for the goose doo doo.”
“Awww, Tony, you are sweet.” They walked side by side, not touching. Renata could see their breath in the air.
“Edith agrees with you.”
“Edith? My neighbor?” Renata stopped to stare at him.
“Yeah, the other night she gave me a kiss because you had neglected to do it for her.”
Renata laughed. “Is she my competition for your affections?”
“Are you seeking my affections?” He looked at her with one eyebrow raised.
Renata looked away. Her entire neck and head grew warm.
“You have no competition. No one can compare to you.” His voice was seductive to her ears when he used those words.
“Now you go too far, Tony. I’m not as perfect as you think I am.” She had to reign this in. She didn’t want to lead him on.
“Who said you were perfect? Surely not I.” He placed his hand flat on his chest.
Renata laughed and gave Tony a playful punch in the arm, but was quickly distracted. She pointed to the pond. “Look at the geese coming in to land. They look like they are waterskiing when they put their feet down.”
“Waterskiing geese. Now I’ve seen everything. What will you think of next, Ren?”
“I don’t know. I thought it was your turn to be absurd for a while.”
Tony reached out and tickled Renata. “Stop!” She laughed and started tickling him back and took off running into the grass. Tony ran after her and with his longer legs managed to catch her causing them both to fall on the leaf-covered lawn. Renata grabbed a handful of leaves and tossed them at Tony, and he returned the favor. Soon they lay there in the leaves giggling and gasping for a breath.
“It is beautiful out here.” Renata said. “It’s hard to believe this is Milwaukee.”
“It’s hard for me to believe my good fortune to be sharing this with you.” Tony looked over to Renata and reached to grab her hand to give it a squeeze.
Renata’s shoulder muscles seized at his touch. The touching, the laughter, and the sense they were alone in the world without any past or present or future to worry about, shook her. She needed him too much. No. She wanted him. She desired him. She looked at his face, so close to hers and imagined what it would feel like to kiss him. Stop. This has to stop. No man will ever love you. No man will ever see you as more than a plaything. The messages bombarded her.
The monsters were back.
About the author:
Susan M. Baganz chases after three Hobbits, and is a native of Wisconsin. She is an Acquisitions Editor with Prism Book Group, specializing in bringing great romance novels and novellas to publication. Susan writes adventurous historical and contemporary romances with a biblical world-view.
Susan speaks, teaches, and encourages others to follow God in being all He has created them to be. With her seminary degree in counseling psychology, a background in the field of mental health, and years serving in church ministry, she understands the complexities and pain of life as well as its craziness. She serves behind-the-scenes in various capacities at her church. Her favorite pastimes are lazy…snuggling with her dog while reading a good book, or sitting with a friend chatting over a cup of spiced chai latte.