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Today’s Wednesday Writers guest is Regina Rudd Merrick. Regina is talking houses, family history, book settings and how they relate to her upcoming book Heart of Restoration. Since Heart of Restoration isn’t due out until August (but available for preorder in July), Regina is giving away either an ebook or paperback copy of Hope is Born: A Mosaic Christmas Anthology, which contains a prequel to her RenoVations series, “RenoVating Christmas” to one lucky commenter. Leave a comment on Regina’s post to be entered in the contest. Winners will be announced on June 16, 2020 on the blog, so please check back to see if you’re the lucky reader. Be sure and check out the excerpt Regina has provided from Heart of Restoration.

Welcome, Regina!

 

The setting of Heart Restoration, Book 1 in the RenoVations Series in the Mosaic Collection.

 

A few years ago I found a house out in the country that I desperately wanted to buy. I was obsessed with it, and because HGTV is practically the only channel I watch that isn’t streaming, I had visions of restoring the house that, at least partly, was built in the late 1850s.

In my research, I actually found what might be a family connection, which is extremely unlikely, since I am not from the county of my residence. I grew up a few counties west of my current home, but back in the early 1800s the Rudds came west from Tennessee, one brother (my branch) went on toward Paducah, KY, others to various spots in Kentucky, and a sister apparently married a man and settled in Crittenden County, where we currently live.

This fascinated me. When I found the Rudd name, I was hooked, and kept digging. Sally Rudd became Sally Rudd Clement. Her son, John Rudd Clement, submitted plans for building a town called “Clementsburg” along the Ohio River in the northern part of the county, but unfortunately he was killed in a sawmill accident at 48. His son is the one that built the house that I fell in love with, and it stayed in the Clement family until the 1990s.

I didn’t get to buy the house, but the idea of a town in the area north of the county seat was so fascinating that I decided to create “Clementville” as the setting for my new series.

In a way, I’m world-building, which is fun. I can use all the roads, land features, etc., that are already there, but I can plop a tiny little town that is thriving despite the fact that it’s a farming community and river traffic doesn’t stop there anymore.

Be on the lookout for Heart Restoration in August! Pre-Orders will begin in July!

 

In the meantime, I would love to give away either an ebook or paperback copy of Hope is Born: A Mosaic Christmas Anthology, which contains a prequel to my RenoVations series, “RenoVating Christmas.” Leave a comment to be entered.

 

Heart Restoration

by Regina Rudd Merrick

 For interior designer Lisa Reno things go from bad to worse when her contractor brother falls off a ladder and breaks his leg. Now she has to deal with the past coming back to haunt her, an old house with a corpse in the creepy cellar, and her best friend trying her best to fix her up with any man that moves.

Nick Woodward is willing to do his old college roommate a favor – especially since it involves renovating his own inheritance. The last thing he wants is to get involved with anyone. When he lost his wife and unborn child so suddenly, he had made the decision to keep God and everyone else at arm’s length.

So far, so good.

Ah, the difference a trip to a dingy basement makes.

 

EXCERPT

Who knew a random ‘I owe you’ would turn into a monumental project, and this particular monumental project, at that. He turned to walk back around to the front of the house and saw a pickup truck. The magnetic sign on the truck read ‘Reno-Vations–Re-Do it Right.’

Typical Del. When they went to college together, they were both English literature and composition majors. So what do two guys with English majors and no teaching credentials do when they get out of college? They become contractors, of course.

Del had the right idea. His sister was a design major, and his dad had been a contractor for years. When Steve Reno decided to semi-retire, he passed the legacy of Reno Construction on to his kids. Del must have added the tag line, homage to his literary studies; alliteration was Del’s first love.

A young lady holding her phone in front of her walked out the front door and onto the porch. She looked up from her call when she saw him coming toward her, waving her fingers. Her eyes widened with recognition.

Was that Lisa? He couldn’t tell. He hadn’t seen her since college. She’d been a couple of years behind them, so while he was living the high life of an upper-classman, she was keeping her nose to the grindstone taking classes and doing whatever it was artsy people did in their spare time. From what he remembered, she had looked fifteen at twenty, was somewhat mousy, and was constantly pushing her glasses up on her nose that was perpetually stuck in a book of some kind.

There was always something about her, though, that drew him. After he got to know her a little better, through Del, flirting with her on the quad at Murray State became a habit, and she usually rolled her eyes and ignored him.

He caught himself raking his hand through his unruly hair. He needed a haircut. Looking down, he noticed the dried concrete on his boots he hadn’t noticed before. He could have at least put on his better pair, but it wasn’t like he wanted to impress anybody. It was his skills as a contractor they were looking for, not his appearance.

While he waited, he decided to take a closer look at the front porch. Spongy wood in places. Great. That didn’t bode well. Chances were they would end up ripping the whole porch off and starting over. More expense. This was why he dealt mainly with new construction.

“Nick?”

It was her. Come on. Could seven years make this much difference? He remembered the auburn hair, but not the brilliant green eyes. “Lisa?”

She looked surprised, and a little flushed as she held out her hand and smiled. “I didn’t think you would remember me.”

He took her slender hand in his, surprised by the confident grip in such a soft hand. “Sure I remember you. I almost…”

“Didn’t recognize me? I know. I get it all the time.” She shrugged. “No glasses.” She wrinkled her nose and laughed. “I wonder why Del didn’t tell me the contractor he’d hired was you.”

He lifted an eyebrow and smiled back, wondering the same thing. So Del hadn’t told her who the owner was.

“Whatever his reason, it’s good to see you.”

“And you.”

Was that a slight blush on her face, or was it getting hot out here?

Rather than continue standing there awkwardly, both turned to face the house. “Looks like he’s tasked us with this gem of a place.” He glanced over at her. Her eyes were narrowed, and she had her index finger tapping on her chin as she gazed upon the dilapidated structure.

“He called it a ‘jewel in the rough.’” She turned to him. “You know, the more I look at it, the more I agree with him.”

Want to read more? You can check Regina’s other books on Amazon 

while you wait for Heart Restoration to arrive.

 

About the Author:

regina rudd merrickRegina Rudd Merrick is a multi-published writer, church musician, wife, mother, former librarian, lover of all things beachy and chocolate, and grateful follower of Jesus Christ. Married to her husband of 35-plus years, she is the mother of two grown daughters, and the keeper of a 100-year-old house where she lives in the small town of Marion, KY. Connect with Regina on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or on her website at https://www.reginaruddmerrick.com/ .

 

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