Monday, March 6, 2017

Release Blitz/Giveaway! Love's Promise, by Melissa Storm

Releases on March 7 | On Sale 
for 99¢

The Love's Promise e-book is 
available for pre-order
at the websites below!
There's also a print edition coming, 
as well as an audiobook!!

Love's Promise
(The First Street Church Romances, Book 2)
Melissa Storm
Digital Edition, 173 pages
Partridge & Pear Press
March 7, 2017
Christian Romance
Contemporary Romance

 She's waiting for her prince to come … but was he right beside her all the time?

Kristina Rose Maher wants to know why fairy tales never happen for fat girls. Certain that diner cook Jeff, handsome and fit, will never want her as more than a friend, she stuffs down her attraction to him. But when she finds herself facing a life-altering weight loss surgery, she discovers she's willing to do whatever it takes to embrace life—and love—to the fullest.
Jeffrey Berkley can't bear the thought of losing the friend he’s only just beginning to realize matters so much to him… no matter what size she is. But he is also terrified that helping her reach for her dreams will also mean finally reaching for his own—and letting down his family’s legacy in the process.

Both Kristina Rose and Jeffrey must learn to love themselves before they can find a way to make a promise to each other. Will they finally be able to lay their heavy burdens at the Lord's feet, and trust him to bring the happily-ever-after they both crave?
Don't miss this sweet tale of faith, love, and gastric bypass--get your copy of Love's Promise today!

I really LOVED reading this excerpt! It was sweet, tender, and let us know quite a bit about the characters and their true feelings for each other in just a few sentences. Melissa Storm handled this situation in a very sensitive manner, while making me empathize with Kristina and Jeffrey. Although the tone was light, the underlying emotional drama was very much in evidence. Kristina obviously comes from a dysfunctional family, and she's been dealing with this through overeating. Now she's just had gastric bypass surgery, and her life will be transformed. I can't wait to read how she and Jeffrey, who'd worried that she'll think he will only love her when she's thin, will get on with their romance! I ADORE both of these characters already!

Chapter 3

Jeffrey felt half tempted to belt out the serenity prayer as he and Kristina Rose bowed their heads and joined hands.

God, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change… Like the fact that we are just friends, maybe best friends, but friends nonetheless. She doesn’t think of me that way and it would be unfair to put this new pressure on her with so much else going on in her life right now. 

Courage to change the things I can… I can be here for her. I can help her walk this new path. I can make a difference in her recovery, be there the way she deserves.

And the wisdom to know the difference… Amen.

Luckily for Jeffrey, he’d gone to church every Sunday since he was first baptized in the tiny Southern Baptist church of his original hometown. That meant he always had a prayer at the tip of his tongue if not in the forefront of his mind. He wasn’t entirely sure which words he uttered in prayer with Kristina, but they seemed to bring her comfort—and that was the most important thing.

“How do you feel?” he asked when they both opened their eyes and looked up.

She smiled, and he thanked God that the heart rate monitor wasn’t strapped to his chest, because surely she’d know he’d just missed a beat.

“Not too shabby,” she said, then smiled her signature Kristina Rose grin again.

Another beat missed. How had he not realized his love for her before? Stupid, stupid, stupid. His throat tightened, became dry, but he pushed out the next words anyway. “What happens next?”

“I lose a million pounds, get rid of the diabetes, and live happily ever after.” She laughed, and Jeffrey realized too late that he was supposed to have laughed, too. Unfortunately, his brain got caught on “happily ever after.” Wouldn’t that be just the way?

“I’ll be fine, Jeffrey,” she said, nudging him with her leg. “Don’t you worry about me. The worst part is already over.”

He offered her a weak smile, but inside his brain continued to zoom about like a headless chicken. If he were to grab her right now and kiss her, how would she react? No, no, that wasn’t fair. She didn’t need this from him, especially today, of all days. Say, he waited a week, a month, a season. Then what?

He’d read that people who received gastric bypass surgery could lose one hundred pounds in just a couple short months! Would Kristina Rose think that his feelings had surfaced only because she’d lost weight? He’d hate for her to think that way of him, but it would be the obvious conclusion. And if he spoke of his feelings too soon, he could jeopardize their friendship, hurt her recovery. What option did that leave, really?

To speak now or forever hold his peace? He couldn’t speak now, and he’d never be at peace if he couldn’t share his true feelings. But he could be her friend, and that would have to be enough.

Satisfied, he let a smile slide across his face.

“What are you thinking about?” Kristina asked as she smoothed the wrinkles on the thin hospital blanket that covered her lap.

“You,” he answered honestly as he stood and paced toward the window. “I’m glad you’re okay.”

“Me too,” she said just above a whisper.

“Can I come back yet?” Elise called from the hallway.

“Come on in,” he answered. “I was just saying my goodbyes.” Yes, he needed to say goodbye—goodbye to the thought of a relationship with the girl he’d only just realized meant so much more to him than just a friend, goodbye to his recent longing to take her in his arms, and goodbye to this hospital room where he’d been forced to admit his dream could never be.

“Bye, Jeffrey,” Kristina said, her voice cracking around the words. “Thanks for stopping by.”

He knelt and gave her a brief peck on the temple. “I’ll come see you tomorrow. Take care.”

Tomorrow. What would that be like? Suddenly, Jeffrey’s eyes had opened to such an amazing revelation, but at the same time he’d have to close his heart to the love it so badly wanted to give.

Tomorrow no longer seemed like a promise, but rather a pain he would need to endure. 

The doctor insisted on keeping Kristina Rose overnight, even though she felt absolutely fine. In fact, now that the scariest part of it all had come and gone, she felt more excited than anything. It was time to start living her new life. She’d survived the fire, and now it was time to dance in the flames.

“Good morning!” the same friendly nurse from yesterday said as she glided into Kristina’s room with a steaming cup of beef broth. “Sleep well?”

“As good as can be expected, I guess.”

“And on that same scale of one to ten?”

“One and a half?”

“Oh, good. You’ll be headed home in no time. I’m going to need to give you a prick.”

Before Kristina could even agree, the nurse jabbed a needle into her finger and swabbed at the tiny bead of blood. After a few beats, she exclaimed “Ninety-seven. That’s quite an improvement already! You’ll be out of the diabetes zone in no time.”


“Already. It’s a wonder what surgery can do. It will probably take another couple weeks to officially become diabetes free, but even when your sugar is fine, you’ll still need to take care of your diet for the rest of your life. Even more than before, I’m afraid.”

“Yes, I remember from my pre-surgical visits. My stomach is a thumb.”

“Just about, yes.”

Kristina glanced down at her hands, which were less swollen than before the surgery. She hadn’t even realized she’d been holding water until it was suddenly gone. Before long, she’d probably even be able to wear the stunning emerald ring her grandmother had willed her but that had never fit.

“Do I get to go home now?” she asked hopefully. She wanted to try her luck now. The ring would be a wonderful thing to come home to.

“I’ll leave that final decision up to the doctor, but everything looks good to me. Do you have any questions?”

“Nope. It all seems pretty straightforward. I read up on everything the doctor gave me and am ready to put in the work.”

“That’s great, but listen to me, honey. Everyone always feels excited, ready to conquer the world coming out of the OR, but it’s easy to lose that excitement over time. It will require hard work and a lifetime of change. Things that seem easy now or felt easy before might prove to be incredibly difficult.”

Kristina glanced over the nurse’s figure as she took in her words. The nurse wasn’t a stick, but she was nowhere near plus-sized, either. Even though her scrubs seemed a tad tight, she’d probably never had any real struggle with her weight. And while the things she was telling her were clearly knowledgeable, she also didn’t know how much this opportunity meant to Kristina Rose. Why would she ever do anything to mess it up?

“I’ve got this,” she said at last. “I know what a blessing this second chance is.”

The nurse smiled and glanced up from the monitor she’d been studying moments before. “You have a great attitude, and that’s at least half the battle. Just promise me that you won’t hesitate to reach out for help if you need it. The staff is here to support you—Dr. Daniels, the psychologist who did your evaluation, and you have friends and family who would love to lend a hand, I bet. Speaking of, do you have someone you can stay with for the next few days as you adjust to your new stomach? You won’t be able to drive for a bit longer either. Do you have the help you need?”

“Yes, yes, my friends always take care of me. Thank you.” Kristina cleared her throat and glanced toward her cell phone. Friends, she had by the bushel. Family was a different story.

“Okay, I’ll stop pestering you then. It was so nice taking care of you, sweetie. Don’t be a stranger now, you hear?”

The nurse wheeled her cart out of the room, leaving Kristina Rose by herself in the sea of white—white walls, white tiles, white sheets, white gown. Her iPhone buzzed with a new message. 

On my way, Elise wanted her to know.

Elise was coming back. Would Jeffrey be back, too? Now that he knew she was okay, would he keep coming by to visit? Or would it take recovering enough to go back into work to spend any real time with him?

And what would she look like by then? She was a size 22 now. Would she still be in plus-sized clothing and still wear a G-cup bra? Or would she be well on her way to skinny Minnie-dom?
And what would Jeffrey think? Would he want her then? Did she want him to want her under those circumstances?

It all made her head hurt. Perhaps a three on the pain scale.

The phone buzzed again. Elise already?

No, this time it was a call… from her mom.

“Hi, Mom,” she answered, putting the phone on speaker. Who cared if an orderly passing by overheard?

“Kristina Rose, why didn’t you call to let me know you’d come out of surgery okay? I was so worried about my little girl."

So worried it took her more than a day to check in? Yeah, okay. “I’m fine. Sorry. Just got busy with hospital tests and sleeping and visitors stopping by.”

“Don’t try to guilt me, missy. You know I would be there if I could. Flights from Florida to Texas aren’t cheap, as I’m sure you know. Besides, Trevor needed me to help him prepare for a big sales pitch at work. And you’ve always had that independent streak a mile long. I knew you’d be just fine without me. You are fine, aren’t you?”

“Yes, totally fine.”

“Well, good. Next time remember to call your mother, okay? Gotta go, the roast needs to go into the oven. Love you. Bye!”

Kristina Rose didn’t even get to mumble a farewell before the phone clicked over. Now the emotional pain shot up to an eight, though physically she felt fine. Where to even begin processing all that? How she wished she could just dismiss the short call and put it out of her mind. But her mother had always managed to get under her skin and stay awhile. Maybe that was why she was so heavy to begin with. Her body had to house her and some phantom version of her mother. It took a lot of calories to feed both.

Normally after a call with her Mom, she’d reach for a sleeve of Oreos or swing by Mabel’s for some fresh, salty fries. Her thumb-sized stomach churned at the thought. No, no, no. Was she really struggling with emotional eating already? How would she ever manage to maintain this new lifestyle long-term if a two-minute phone call sent her into a spiral of longing for something sweet and soothing?

She reached for her bedside tray and grabbed the tiny bowl of broth. Slurp.

This is delicious, she told herself. Slurp. It has all the nourishment I need. Slurp. I’m my own person, a strong person. Slu—

“I’m heeeeeere!” Elise trilled, pushing into the room with a giant duffle bag slung over her shoulder.  “What did I miss?”

“Nothing important,” Kristina Rose said with a sigh. Because nothing important was precisely how she felt in that moment. Oh, dear.

Melissa Storm is a mother first, and everything else second. She used to write under a pseudonym, but finally had the confidence to come out as herself to the world. Her fiction is highly personal and often based on true stories. Writing is Melissa's way of showing her daughter just how beautiful life can be, when you pay attention to the everyday wonders that surround us.

Melissa loves books so much, she married fellow author Falcon Storm. Between the two of them, there are always plenty of imaginative, awe-inspiring stories to share. Melissa and Falcon also run the business Novel Publicity together, where she works as publisher, marketer, editor, and all-around business mogul. When she's not reading, writing, or child-rearing, Melissa spends time relaxing at home in the company of her two dogs, five parrots, and rescue cat. She never misses an episode of The Bachelor or her nightly lavender-infused soak in the tub.

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  1. My sweet mom only reads Christian Romance, and I've been at a loss as to what I could give her to read next that I haven't already given her. This is the most perfect timing! I'm going to gift this book to her; and from everything I've read here, I know she will just love it. Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention, Maria, and for sharing the excerpt and trailer! Beautiful post, my friend *hugs* <3 <3 <3

    1. Hi, Michele!

      I'm SO glad that this post has convinced you to get this book for your mom! I agree -- she'll LOVE it!! In fact, I want to get it myself! It sure sounds like a WONDERFUL story!!

      You're very welcome for the sharing! Thanks for complimenting my post!! Thanks as well for stopping by and leaving such a positive, lovely comment!! HUGS BACK!!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)


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