Let me tell you about two very important things in my life that just seem to perfectly planned to have happened as a fluke.
The first is one I talk about often—my love story with Mr. Storm. He’s definitely my soul mate, but he’s not my first husband. I never pictured myself as a divorcee, especially in my 20s. But some of us need a little more time to grow up and find ourselves. Try telling any young adult that they aren’t quite there yet!
I started dating my first husband at 19, we married when I was 23, and divorced at 27. I learned a lot from that time in my life, as painful as it was. Because as I continued to grow, mature, and find myself, my then husband’s love for me seemed to fade with each passing day.
In what felt like the blink of an eye, we went from adoration to derision. Our marriage became a very uncomfortable place to be, full of cruel words and angry directives fired at me when I least expected them.
And all because I had found what I was meant to do in this world: write my books and start businesses to help other writers live their dreams, too.
I was so angry at how things turned out. What was love? Surely, it was a made-up Hollywood phenomena since my own romance had crashed and burned so brutally.
But then on the heels of that dark time, I met a man—a writer like me—who had just moved to my state all the way from Alaska. He left everything behind to pursue his dreams of being an author. I’d left so much behind because achieving my dreams meant I’d lost the love of a man who had vowed to love me until death do us part.
I definitely wasn’t going to go to that place again.
And yes, Mr. Storm worked his way right into my heart. First as an online acquaintance, then a friend, and at last a husband. We met in early August, realized the love brewing between us in September, and eloped on December 1 of that same year.
And all these years later, we are living our dreams together along with our gorgeous daughter who is the realization of the greatest dream of all.
The thing is, if he hadn’t been brave enough to leave his life and decide to move thousands of miles away on a whim, and if I hadn’t taken that incredibly scary leap to leave my marriage and then to let love in again, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
There are so many other little pieces about our story that prove God had His eyes on us—far too many to enumerate here, which is why one day I plan to write our full love story and share it with you.
Until then, I continue to weave pieces of our story into each and every book I write. Love changed everything for me. I mean, how could I not believe in love when I live it every day? How could I not want to share that joy with others? To offer hope and proof that—yes—it’s out there?
So that’s my first big tale of destiny. The other is one I haven’t told anyone until now, but I’d like to tell you… Next time.
Until then, why not catch up with the next Alaskan Hearts novel? The Truest Home is my favorite of the series, but— shhh—don't tell the others!
The Truest Home
She just found out that everything she's ever loved is a lie…
Liz Benjamin has lost her place in the world. Not only are her best friends too busy for her, but her father just married a horrible woman who has now moved into their home with her two horrible daughters.
Worse still, a handsome stranger arrives in town for the wedding and starts asking all the wrong questions. With his help, Liz soon finds that everything she thought she knew about herself is based on a terrible lie.
But just how far back does the deception go, and how will finding the truth about Liz’s past change her future?
Join Liz, Scarlett, Lauren, and their courageous team of sled dogs in this unforgettable tale of tenacity, trust, and finding where you belong from a New York Times bestselling author.
Liz Benjamin tried to smile as she walked down the petal-strewn aisle toward her father.
He beamed as she moved closer, his expression an unfamiliar mix of nervousness, euphoria, and even pride. This was his special day, and Liz wanted it to be perfect for him…
Even though he was marrying the Wicked Witch of West Anchorage.
As much as Liz despised her soon-to-be stepmother, Vanessa Price, she knew well enough that you couldn’t choose who your heart loved. She’d seen that lesson firsthand as her best friend—and now roommate—Scarlett Cole fell head over heels for the heir to the infamous Mitchell estate.
From her seat in the pew, Scarlett gave a thumbs up as Liz passed by on her long walk toward the front of the church. Her new fiancé Henry sat by her side, his fingers laced possessively through hers.
After a couple false starts, Henry had proven himself to be a good man. He had taught both Scarlett and Liz many lessons in their short friendship. For one thing, appearances could be deceiving. And, more importantly than that, a person isn’t necessarily destined to follow in his family’s footsteps.
Henry certainly hadn’t.
And that’s what Liz reminded herself often when it came to her new stepsisters, Victoria and Valeria, who would soon follow her down the aisle. Sure, their mother was the very caricature of an evil, money-grubbing politician, but that didn’t mean her daughters weren’t lovely people in their own right.
When the two families had first met, the two high school girls had kept mostly to themselves, rebuffing any attempt Liz made to hold a conversation. But that could be immaturity—or even shyness—just as much as it could be a cold nature.
No, Liz had to give them the benefit of the doubt—both for her own sanity and her father’s.
As far as she knew, he hadn’t gone on a single date since the death of her mother more than twenty-five years ago. Not until he’d met and fallen headlong for Vanessa.
Poor Liz had never gotten the chance to know her mother, who had sadly died in childbirth. It was the one thing she wished she could change about her life. Well, other than the way her father had punished himself by swearing off love for so many years.
He had once told Liz he didn’t deserve happiness, but hadn’t explained when she pressed him for answers. Her entire life it had been just the two of them, but now three more would be entering their family.
She needed to play nice for her father’s sake. Surely he must see something in Vanessa Price that Liz herself hadn’t spied yet. She couldn’t imagine her dear old dad choosing anyone with less than a pure heart to share his life.
But then again, maybe he had been tricked somehow, pulled into Vanessa’s black widow web.
Only, what could she possibly have to gain by going after Ben Benjamin?
None of it made sense to Liz. Maybe one day when she finally fell in love for herself, things would start to make more sense. Maybe Vanessa would change, or maybe she already had without Liz’s realizing it.
A wedding was a day to be happy, yet the only emotion that filled Liz’s heart that day was fear. She still couldn’t decide whether she should be happy her father had finally found a partner or sad by just who that partner ended up being.
When all was said and done, would this truly be the happiest day of her father’s life?
Oh, how she hoped so. And that hope was what she would cling to in the absence of any more attractive option.
She looked up and smiled, finally having finished her long walk toward the front of the church and taking her place beside her father. She was his best man, though she wore a dress that matched her sisters' bridesmaids gowns.
Victoria and Valeria floated down the aisle next, arms linked, smiling proudly out at the sea of guests. Their perfect blonde ringlets seemed to shine and reflect the light from the many flashing cameras. Their pale blue, floor-length gowns added to the ethereal image they projected.
Liz looked nowhere near as gorgeous in her dress. The color clashed with her thick auburn hair. The low cut of the neckline showed off the freckles she’d prefer to hide and the cleavage which, quite frankly, didn’t really exist.
Her new stepsisters were more than ten years younger than her, yet their bra cups runneth over. God may have granted them beauty and money, but Liz knew she was the one who had truly been blessed, having a father like Ben Benjamin.
She had never wanted for anything growing up, and she didn’t want for anything now.
Just for him to be happy with the new path he’d chosen.
As the organist played the first few notes of the “Wedding March,” all eyes shifted toward the back of the church where Vanessa Price stood wearing layers and layers of white tulle, a wispy veil that reached straight to the floor, and even a tiara embedded with hundreds of tiny crystals.
Everyone watched the bride as she took smooth, delicate steps toward the altar, but Liz couldn’t stop looking at the tears that shone in her father’s eyes, the impossibly huge smile that somehow managed to grow even larger.
He was finally happy.
And she wouldn’t let anyone take that away.