Emerson “Em” Jordan always wanted a Valentine’s Day wedding. But after being dumped by her boyfriend, she spends the holiday at Seashell Cottage on the Gulf Coast of Florida with Devin Gerard, a family friend who has no interest in her or any other woman and is instead concentrating on his pediatric medical practice and continuing medical missions in Costa Rica. 

Em, who’s always wanted a large family, doesn’t mind his disinterest. At thirty-two, she’s decided she doesn’t need a husband to have a child or to adopt one. First, she’s going to fulfill her dream of setting up her own landscape design business in upstate New York and has promised to continue to help run her grandmother’s flower shop. 

It isn’t until Em and Devin become friends that Em realizes she might want more than friendship from him. But with his work in Miami and Costa Rica and her busy life in New York, it’s out of the question until something happens that changes everything, even a couple of hearts.






Emerson “Em” Jordan closed her eyes as the sound of the music enveloped her in a cloud of happiness. She was taking part in her sister’s wedding at a resort along the Gulf Coast of Florida, but in her mind, it might as well be her own celebration. The dreamy man holding her hadn’t proposed yet, but she was pretty sure he soon would. She’d dropped all kinds of hints about a Valentine engagement and a wedding a year later on Valentine’s Day. It had been a dream of hers from the time she was a girl.
In a burst of noise, the image of dancing disappeared. Em sat bolt upright in bed and stared out her bedroom window. Through the glass, she saw a colorful display of fireworks, and then she heard another loud bang.
Em lowered her head into her hands and sobbed as she recalled what had happened earlier that evening. The Fourth of July picnic turned into a disaster when her boyfriend, Jared King, had announced he needed to talk to her about something important. When she saw his serious expression and how he was shuffling his feet, a nervous habit of his, her stomach did a somersault. She’d watched her family and friends head out to walk the four blocks to the town park to watch the fireworks and wished she could run after them.
As he studied her, Jared took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Like I said, we need to talk. I can’t do this any longer. I love you, Em, I do, but I’m not in love with you. It’s time to call it quits.”
She lifted a hand to her cheek as if he’d slapped her and reeled away from him. “You’re breaking up with me? Like this?”
He sighed. “It’s not working. And it’s not going to.”
Shocked, she stared at him wide-eyed, certain she was about to throw up. She staggered over to one of the picnic tables set up in her parents’ backyard and plopped down on the bench beside it. Bending over, Em put her head between her legs hoping to stop the world around her from spinning.
“Are you all right?” Jared asked, standing a safe distance from her.
Anger straightened her. “I’m not all right, Jared King! You just broke my heart! I’m not sure I’ll ever be all right again!”
“I’m sorry, Em. I really am.” He’d simply turned and walked away, leaving her to clutch her body, too weak to run after him, her dreams scattered around her like crushed blossoms.
For the next few weeks, Em managed to continue working at the family’s flower shop, but, in truth, she barely functioned. Jagged edges of her broken heart kept poking her insides, taking away her breath, stealing the cheerfulness she usually wore like a comfortable old sweater to protect her. Not even the sweet smell of freesia in the flower shop could chase away the pain of Jared’s words. It was a good thing that Jared lived in New York City, an hour away. She couldn’t bear to see him.
She returned to her task of putting together a basket of summer wildflowers. She loved making things look as natural as possible, and woven baskets were good containers for the colorful blooms.
“How are you coming with the Williams order?” her grandmother, Julia Jordan, asked as she entered the work area.
“Almost done,” Em said, standing back to appraise the placement of flowers.
“Looks wonderful, sweetheart.” After the death of her husband many years ago, her grandmother had opened the flower shop she’d named Rainbow’s End in their small, upstate town of Ellenton, New York. In her late sixties, Julia was still an attractive woman with gray hair cut in a bob, sparkling eyes and a face that reflected beauty enhanced by her inner peace. Em smiled. Of all the people in the family, her grandmother understood her best. Two optimists who came together. Didn’t the name of her flower shop say it all?

Sheena Sullivan Morelli and her sisters, Darcy and Regan, receive the unexpected news that their Uncle Gavin Sullivan, the black sheep of the family, has left them a hotel on the Gulf coast of Florida. The gift comes with a twist. They must live together for one year at the hotel and prepare the hotel to receive guests within a year. Sheena, eager to escape her role of unappreciated wife and mother, can’t wait for the opportunity to find herself. Dreams of sitting on the beach sipping margaritas are shattered when they see the property in need of renovation. But they begin their work of meeting the challenge. If they succeed, the bulk of Gavin’s estate will be theirs. Facing the unexpected, working together, the three sisters learn a lot about each other and the gift of family love.

In early January, Sheena Morelli sat with her two sisters in a conference room of the Boston law office of Lowell, Peabody, and Wilson, waiting to meet with Archibald Wilson himself.  
“Do either of you have any idea why we’re really here?” said her youngest sister, Regan. “The letter from Mr. Wilson said something about a reading of a will. But that doesn’t make sense to me. I didn’t even know Gavin Sullivan.”
Me, neither. He’s probably some rich uncle leaving us a lot of money,” teased Darcy, the typical middle sister, who was always kidding around.
Sheena laughed with her. The three Sullivan sisters had no rich relatives that they knew of in their modest family. They were hard workers who relied on only themselves to make it through life. Well, thought Sheena, maybe Regan wasn’t as reliable as she and Darcy. As the baby of the family, Regan had always been a bit spoiled. At twenty-two and eager to escape her old life in Boston, Regan wasn’t about to spend too much time with the family. This time, though, at the formal request of Mr. Wilson, Regan had dutifully left New York City to come to “Bean Town.” 
As Sheena waited in the conference room for Mr. Wilson to show up, she studied Regan out of the corner of her eye. With her long, black hair, big, violet-blue eyes, and delicate Sullivan features, she was a knockout—a Liz Taylor look-alike.
Darcy sat on the other side of Sheena in a stiff-backed chair. Studying Darcy’s blue eyes, red hair, and freckled nose, Sheena thought of her as cute…and funny…and maybe a little annoying, though everyone seemed to love Darcy’s sassy attitude. At twenty-six, Darcy claimed she hadn’t found her true calling. Whatever that meant.
Sheena had found her calling in a hurry when she got pregnant as she was starting college, where she’d planned to take nursing courses. Ironic as it was, her wanting to become a nurse and getting caught like that, had changed many things for her. Now, at thirty-six and with a sixteen-year-old son and a fourteen-year-old daughter, she still hadn’t recovered from losing her dream.
She straightened in her chair as a tall, gray-haired man entered the room carrying a file of papers.
“Good morning, ladies. I’m Archibald Wilson, the lawyer representing Gavin Sullivan. I’m pleased you all could attend this reading of his will,” he announced in a bass voice. He looked the three of them over critically. “Which one of you is Sheena Sullivan Morelli?”
She raised her hand. “I’m Sheena. Do you mean the ‘Big G’ Sullivan?”
Wide-eyed, her sisters released loud gasps. The name “Big G Sullivan” had been mentioned in the family on rare occasions, and only when her father and his two other brothers had had too many beers. And then it was never kindly.

Judith Keim enjoyed her childhood and young-adult years in Elmira, New York, and now makes her home in Boise, Idaho, with her husband and their two dachshunds, Winston and Wally, and other members of her family. 

While growing up, she was drawn to the idea of writing stories from a young age. Books were always present, being read, ready to go back to the library, or about to be discovered. All in her family shared information from the books in general conversation, giving them a wealth of knowledge and vivid imaginations. 

A hybrid author who both has a publisher and self-publishes, Ms. Keim writes heart-warming novels about women who face unexpected challenges, meet them with strength, and find love and happiness along the way. Her best-selling books are based, in part, on many of the places she's lived or visited and on the interesting people, she's met, creating believable characters and realistic settings her many loyal readers love. Ms. Keim loves to hear from her readers and appreciates their enthusiasm for her stories. 

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