We're excited to welcome Delia Latham to Writer's Rest to share with us her latest book, Kylie's Kiss. Today's blog blitz is to celebrate Delia's birthday. Leave a comment for Delia & you might end up being the one getting a gift. Delia will give away FOUR pdf copies of Solomon's Gate books to FOUR readers who leave comments at any or all of the various blogs involved in her birthday blitz June 27 through June 30. Winners may choose either Destiny's Dream (Book One) or Kylie's Kiss (Book Two). The first-prize winner of the oil bottle necklace will be chosen from comments left on June 27th ONLY.
Blurb for Kylie's Kiss
On a dare, Kylie Matthews lands smack in the middle of Solomon’s Gate—Castle Creek’s new Christian dating agency—and she finds herself revealing exactly what she’s waiting for in a relationship: “The kiss that steals my breath away.”
What she doesn’t reveal is her lack of self-esteem or her irrational reaction to facial disfigurement. Neither is applicable to her quest to find the perfect match. But that seemingly superficial malady becomes all-important when her first agency-arranged date is Rick Dale—a man who is everything Kylie is searching for. He’s handsome, smart, fun. Rick has it all…including an angelic six-year-old daughter with severe scarring on one side of her face.
Hard at work founding a therapy camp for young female victims of deformity or disfigurement, Rick wants Kylie to be a part of those plans. She’d love to say yes…but how can she, when every contact with the facility’s guests—and Rick’s own daughter—will make her violently ill?
Kylie is ready to admit their relationship doesn’t stand a chance, but she’s forgotten that God makes a way where there seems no way.
Rick settled into a seat across from Kylie and Clay and sat in silence for a moment, a slight frown drawing his dark brows together. Finally he looked up, first at Clay, then in her direction. “Kylie, I haven’t had a chance to share with you about Lea, though I believe Clay knows a little.”
Her heart sank and her gaze flew to her boss, who nodded. Yes, he knew about Lea, whoever she was. This didn’t sound good. “Who’s Lea?”
“She’s my little girl.” Kylie drew in a slow, deliberate breath, forcing herself to stay calm. So he had a daughter. As long as a wife wasn’t the next announcement, she could handle that.
“You have a child. How old is she?”
“She just turned six.” Rick’s expression softened as he spoke, and Kylie knew without a doubt that Lea was his life. His green eyes, startling against the olive of his skin, met hers without flinching. “She’s a special child, Kylie. Smart, beautiful, charming….” Kylie found herself fascinated by the adorable little self-derisive grin that played about his lips. “And sweet as cotton candy.”
Kylie couldn’t help smiling. “You don’t like her much, huh?”
“She is my heart and soul.” A little sheepish, but unrepentant.
“When do we get to meet this perfect child?” Clay’s grin lit up his craggy face. “Destiny’s already looking forward to it, but be warned—she’s going to try to keep her. My wife has a thing with kids, man. She loves ’em, and they always love her right back.”
Rick laughed a little, but his tone was serious. “I hope she still feels that way after she meets Lea.” He pulled a wallet from his pocket, then sat for a moment, saying nothing.
Puzzled, Kylie watched him run slender fingers through his thick black hair. Again and again he invaded the thick waves, managing to somehow leave them only slightly mussed. Finally he opened the billfold and pulled out a photo.
When he raised his head, revealing the torment in his eyes, her heart nearly stopped. What was wrong with Lea? Whatever it was, did Rick think it would make a difference in how she or Clay might feel about the child? If so, he certainly didn’t give them much credit.
“This is Lea.” He handed the photo to Clay, who smiled and passed it on to Kylie.
“She’s a cutie all right, my friend. You weren’t exaggerating. So what’s the problem?”
Kylie wondered the same thing. The photo showed a partial silhouette of an extraordinarily beautiful child. Unlike her olive-skinned father, Lea was a vision of light. Golden hair, porcelain skin, eyes the color of a robin’s egg. Kylie met Rick’s gaze, mystified by his obvious unease. “She’s lovely.”
“Thank you. I think so.” He pulled out another photo and handed it to Clay. “In spite of this.”
Kylie’s stomach clenched and threatened to revolt. Her boss’s flinch was slight, but unmistakable. Oh, dear God, please help me handle whatever this is with grace. How ironic that her first real prayer in years would be one of such a pitifully begging nature. Somehow she knew her reaction to this photo could mean life or death for her relationship with Rick. How strange that she’d be thinking in terms of a relationship now, when only moments before she’d been ready to concede defeat.
Clay nodded slowly, then met Kylie’s eyes. He held briefly to the picture even after her fingers closed on it. His words were directed to his friend, but his gaze held hers. “You’re right, my friend. Nothing could make this child anything less than perfect.”
He released the photo into Kylie’s grip. By now she did not want to look at it. Something in Rick’s eyes and Clay’s voice told her she could be in trouble. But what choice did she have?
Her eyes moved in slow, jerking movements from Clay’s face to the photo in her hands. She gasped, overwhelmed with sympathy—and total panic.
Another silhouette, shot from the opposite side of Lea’s face. Long, lumpy red welts stained her exquisite skin, puckering her cheek into an inhuman mask. Kylie had no idea she was crying until the tears tickled her face, even as her throat closed and her stomach lurched.
The photo fluttered to the floor as she leaped to her feet. Sending the two men a desperately apologetic look, she flew out of the room with a hand over her mouth.
Born and raised in a place called Weedpatch, Delia Latham moved from California to Oklahoma in 2008, making her a self-proclaimed California Okie. She loves to read and write in her simple country home, and gets a kick out of watching her husband play Farmer John. The author enjoys multiple roles as Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, but especially loves being a princess daughter to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. She loves to hear from her readers. You may contact her through her website or send an e-mail to delia AT delialatham DOT net.