Teri had beautiful hands. Something I always noticed. Not that she had manicures all the time or used a special lotion, she just had naturally beautiful hands. She also had beautiful handwriting. You could always tell if she wrote a particular note or actually signed the birthday card, because her handwriting was unique. At least it was to me. She got it from our mother who was, and is, meticulous about certain things, and her own handwriting was just one of many she took pride in. That wasn’t the only thing Teri got from our mother. She got our mother’s beauty, perfect skin, amazing energy, and keen eye for detail. She also got our mother’s solid common sense and, along with my other two sisters and my brother, brilliance. Well – maybe she got some of that from our dad as well. Sadly, I didn’t get any of it, the hands, the beauty, the common sense or the brilliance. And the handwriting? Some would say “Good grief, no”. But the one thing Teri and I did have in common was reading. Oh yes. A passion for both of us and Teri had hundreds and hundreds of romance paperbacks, all of which, she read. Every single one.

Unfortunately, at the young age of 23, Teri was diagnosed with cancer, and after battling it for three long years, the cancer took her life. A number of weeks after her death, when going through her things, the family discovered a file folder of notebooks and loose papers, all filled with her handwritten romance stories. Who knew? None were complete, but it was obvious we also shared one other thing. She, like me, had, at one point, dreams of becoming an author. But, along with so many of her dreams, she was never able to make it happen. So I gathered up that file and stored it away, vowing that someday I would make at least that denied dream come true. Then a few years ago I became a published author with, now, over twenty books under my author name.

I was finally ready.

Which was a good thing. I had a bout with breast cancer last year and my mom was recently diagnosed with colon cancer. It put things back into perspective for me. I wanted that book done. So here it is. Complete.

This book is a combination of all those beautifully handwritten notes, stories and out-lines, found in that old, and now very tattered, file folder. It is also a combination of our writing styles, something I think Teri would appreciate, respect, and, I dare to believe, like. I see her adding this paperback to her enormous collection and moving right on to the next dream, this one finally fulfilled.

And my mom? She may or may not read it. I hope she does. Otherwise, it will still have a special place on her book shelf that she designated a long time ago for this very book.

Thank you Eden Connors, Michelle Williams and the awesome Shannon West, all true heroes, for believing in me enough to pull this off and committing to publishing this book even before I finished it. Thank you to my family of crazy people who allowed me to take this file of Teri’s writings so many years ago and for believing that I could possibly make it what it is today, a little contribution to the paperback romance world. And thank you, Teri, for letting us find your treasure in the first place so I, along with so many awesome others, could complete this dream for you, for our family and, hopefully, for many happy readers who will now be able to see not only what your beautiful hands created but a tiny piece of your heart.