This post is from May 2021 release week of fun.

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Sometimes, happily ever after is as elusive as a pirate’s treasure.

Darcy Riggins dove headfirst into the online dating pool and sank. Every time.

Her lifelong dream of becoming a wife and mother becomes more elusive every year. So, taking the lack of a Mr. Right in her life as a decided “No!” from God, Darcy gives up altogether.

Single and happy is not an oxymoron. Right?

Nigel Jones has loved Darcy for ages, but her father (his boss, of course) ordered him to keep his feelings to himself, thanks to a stupid mistake that Darcy (thankfully) doesn’t know about.  Too bad her dad does.

Being single and content turns out to be tougher than Darcy imagined, and when she begins doubting everything she’s ever known, Nigel decides it’s time to admit his mistakes, tell the truth, and trust God for the outcome.

In this “forbidden-love-meets-friends-to-more” novel, Stealing the First Mate continues the Elnora Island romances of the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

Through thick and thin

My best friend story might seem cliché but when you have grown up with a person and have spent more years together than you have apart, it is bound to happen. 

My best friend, the one I tell almost everything to and who supports me more than most, is my darling husband. 

We started dating when I was in 8th grade and we have been together ever since (well, except for that one weekend during my 10th-grade year of high school, but we don’t count that). We have grown together and watched as the journey on this planet build our character, strengthen our faith, and given us the confidence necessary to be all that God intended. When one accomplishes something, we celebrate together and when one is at the lowest, we walk through the pain together. 

I learned, early on, how that support and care would affect our relationship. When a tragic event took place at my childhood home, it rattled the very fiber of our family. We didn’t know how to proceed considering the incident and my parents were mostly focused on getting my brother the help he needed. He was young enough that there was no way he would be able to fight for himself. So, like any good, big sister, I kept doing the things around the house that needed to be done while they took care of him. When night fell that same night, images haunted my dreams and sounds reverberated my subconscious eardrums. I couldn’t sleep and I had a busy day the next day getting ready for Christmas (I don’t even recall doing much that year). 

Around one-thirty in the morning, I couldn’t take it. Seventeen-year-old Melissa wanted to go crawl in her parent’s bed like the scared little girl she felt like, but they too had a long and emotional day. Instead, I called my boyfriend (now husband). He was quick to answer the phone, like he had it right by his bed. His mom picked up the other line and instead of an angry mom, she had compassion in her voice when she asked him not to be on too late. 

Jon was my rock that night. It was the first time I really poured out everything for him to hear and he met each revelation with tenderness and encouragement. I think we ended up talking until we fell asleep that night, despite him having to go to work at six in the morning. He never let me off the line, he even hummed to calm the terror I was experiencing. It was off-key, but it was beautiful. If I’d doubted before that night that he would be my forever leading man, his simple kindness wiped it all away. It didn’t stop that night though. He continues to carry me and hold me, humming off-key in my ear, when or if the dreams return or I am just too overwhelmed to think clearly. When I am on a tight deadline, he knows how easy it is for scared-little-Melissa to come out, so he clears the way so that adult Melissa can get her books in to the publisher on time. 

He has been a true knight in shinning armor (or on an iron horse) for over twenty years.